Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Virtualization – The Next Generation

There are a number of case studies that show that server virtualization and consolidation provides significantly higher utilization of assets. Cost savings occur not only due to direct equipment costs, but also due to savings in software licensing costs, rack space and data center usage and power. Over 75% of large enterprises now use at least some method of server virtualization in their data-centers.

On the client too, desktop virtualization eliminates the need for testing a home-grown application for compatibility and qualification with a number of desktop operating systems, and makes desktop OS migration significantly easier due to fewer dependencies on additional application development and testing efforts.

However, the ever-increasing drive towards more efficient computing organizations will undoubtedly take enterprise IT computing to the next steps in virtualization – where computing, storage and networks are all able to anticipate and re-configure themselves according to demand for specific computing resources.

Dynamic provisioning – where a virtual server is configured as needed, will enable IT managers in capacity planning using averages and medians instead of peaks in usage – which typically occur less than 10 hours in a year. For instance, additional e-commerce virtual servers would be instantiated dynamically on Black Friday, which usually sees the highest sales in a calendar year, and additional customer service virtual servers would be provisioned automatically to handle returns after new year for an e-commerce business.

Demand Orchestration - Additionally, business process configuration and management software will also be intelligent enough to orchestrate demand to balance the need to maintain business SLA's and optimal efficiency. For instance, a line of business file export could be configured to run any time between 12am and 4am, and will be scheduled intelligently between those times by a scheduler using historic data. Intelligent scheduling of computing demand will enable higher utilization due to more uniform usage.

Exciting times are ahead for IT efficiency in general, with virtualization evolving to squeeze more out of infrastructural investments.

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