When Windows first arrived on the scene, there were lots of questions in the industry, like "Will people use it?", or "I prefer command line", or "Does it take up too much processor?". Similar questions have been asked to the virtual server. "Is it secure?" and "Is it easy to manage?" are common questions for IT leaders considering virtualization today.
With the constant state of technology evolution in mind, will the virtual server win the day and become de-facto pattern for software to run in the datacenter?
Taking the Pulse of the Industry
Virtualization.info is a site that has been aggregating news and trends for the last several years and keeping track of the industry predictions, especially as they change from year to year. For example:
In May 2007 for example Gartner predicted that virtualization will be part of nearly every aspect of IT by 2015.
In April 2008 Gartner also said that 4 million virtual machines were expected by 2009, while we would have 611 million virtualized PCs by 2011.
Gartner released a press announcement in October 2009 disclosing that only 16% of workloads run inside virtual machines.
Recently, Gartner predicted that this amount is going to reach around 50% by 2012, which is equal to 58 million deployed virtual machines.
The analysis firm suggests starting small and growing as your team gains experience. "Gartner advocates a 'start small, think big' approach to virtualized server deployments that begins with a specific project but builds towards a wider strategic plan that includes management and process changes."
However, once that is behind you, sometimes it is best to just go all the way.
One Company Goes End-to-End
Hay Group is a global management consulting firm with 85 locations in 47 countries. The company has partnered with Forbes Magazine to help craft the "World's Most Admired" list.
Hay Group's lifeblood is its IT infrastructure. It has adopted vSphere 4 to build an internal cloud where users can get access to infrastructure and provision servers as needed, and then extend the cloud by leveraging VMware vCloud providers - tapping into additional computing resources when needed. For instance, if its business processes require additional resources, but only require them every 30 days, Hay Group can just lease those extra resources from a vCloud provider once a month for a day.
This makes computing resources much more like a utility where when you want more, turn it on, and when you don't, turn it off. We wonder what it would be like if it were that easy to manage people resources.
With companies going full-on virtual, it seems like a new pattern will emerge as the dominant path in the next several years. We'll see companies stand up virtualization-powered data centers for each computing resource with private cloud resources standing by to handling the extra load when needed.
If you had the budget and time to start fresh with a new data center architecture, would you virtualize your computing resources end-to-end?
Photo credit: slworking