Beyond Consolidation

Should we call this <em>stage two</em> of adoption for virtualization? Am I jumping too soon with my '1x1 makes sense' pitch?

Joe Hernick, IT Director

March 26, 2008

3 Min Read

Should we call this stage two of adoption for virtualization? Am I jumping too soon with my "1x1 makes sense" pitch?I know some folks, like Paul, aren't quite buying it yet. I'm not saying consolidation drivers are passé. Far from it; the majority of the worlds' servers are still waiting to be virtualized, right? Look around your own shop and count conversion candidates. Alright, I may have implied that the consolidation savings might not be so great once enhanced storage requirements, network upgrades, host licensing, employee training, etc., are included. But I'll leave that for now.

My chat with HP brought these new drivers into focus last week: almost a third of HP's larger customers (who happen to be implementing VMs, granted, as a further qualifier) are looking at P2V to deliver additional functionality like high availability and flexibility, not necessarily consolidation.

I've been getting this theme as a consistent undercurrent in interviews with ops and service managers, smaller vendors, and other analysts over the last few weeks. Last fall everyone was chatting up capital savings; nothing else seemed to matter. That tune is starting to change.

While I'd like to say that my recent interviews included large Citrix Xen, Virtuzzo, or Virtual Iron installations, well... I can't. All large sites I met with were running VMware.

So I figured, who better to address the question than a product management director at VMware?

I caught up with Erik Wrobel, who just happens to have that job. He took up the challenge.

You know what? There just might be a developing trend. VMware is seeing increasing client deployments with 1x1 installs. Wrobel's personal experience is anecdotal, but he spoke to growing customer interest in virtualization as a facilitation tool within the data center. A quick review of VMware's recent initiatives in management and automation products shows investment in leveraging VMs for capacity optimization, business continuity, and service management. Want to improve your time-to-build, automate new server requests, or standardize your base image regardless of hardware versions in your farm? How about simplifying site-to-site DR or rollbacks?

VMware is ready to help. And so are Citrix, Microsoft, Virtual Iron, and Parallels. The list of the willing continues with Novel, Sun, server vendors, and VM management startups; it's difficult to find an IT vendor site without at least one "virtualization" marketing pitch or product tie-in.

It seems like a fairly standard progression to me: VMs started on the test bench for environmental flexibility, then got a toehold in production thanks to consolidation and projected savings. Organization comfort levels went up, confidence in virt platforms increased, IT staff acquired nifty VM skills.

VM management tools and policies began to mature.

Then folks remembered that environmental flexibility was one of the main drivers to bring virtualization into test environments in the first place...Should we call this stage two of adoption for virtualization? Am I jumping too soon with my '1x1 makes sense' pitch?

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About the Author(s)

Joe Hernick

IT Director

Joe Hernick is in his seventh year as director of academic technology at Suffield Academy, where he teaches, sits on the Academic Committee, provides faculty training and is a general proponent of information literacy. He was formerly the director of IT and computer studies chair at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT, and spent 10 years in the insurance industry as a director and program manager at CIGNA.

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