Thursday, April 19, 2007

Moving Virtualization Up a Notch

I had the opportunity to speak the other day with Dan Kusnetzky, who interviewed Cassatt for his ZDnet blog which reports on virtualization trends. And boy, he really gets the trend.

Right off, he started with observing that "virtualization" isn't just one thing (Consider: Hypervisors, zones, containers, LPars, network VLANs and virtualized storage). We also quickly observed that virtualization probably isn't an end-game-in-itself for IT. Rather, it represents the most critical enabler that will ignite transformation in the IT industry.

That transformation represents a new way to look at managing IT: Today, we have specialized hardware, software, HA/failover software, monitoring & performance analysis systems, and dozens more. Tomorrow, the transformation will look like managing all of these systems holistically, much the way an Operating System manages components within a server. The automation will be technology agnostic, made possible through virtualization. A number of Dan's earlier interviews all point to this inevitability as well.

He had a bunch of great observations, but the last I liked best: "It's important to take the broadest possible view and avoid point solutions. From this vantage point, a failure of some resource must be handled in the same way as any other condition that causes the configuration to no longer meet service level objectives.

For me, the takeaway from the conversation was something I've said before: take the "long view" on implementing virtualization... it may yield you quick HW savings today, but if its automated in an "IT-as-utility" context, its future savings will dwarf what the industry is seeing now.

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