Discussions at the NetEvents conference in Geneva have moved on to all things virtual with a panel led by Yankee Group analyst Camille Mendler who claims that terminology is one of the things holding back the wider uptake of the technology.
"There is a ridiculous term – hypervisor – which is basically virtualisation management software – this kind of language that can make it hard for IT mangers to get the board on side for these kind of projects. The term virtualisation is being used in all sorts of ways and some of them not very helpful," she said.
Panelist Steve Broadhead from Broadband Testing Labs said that virtualisation is the something that should always have been in operating systems. "Why should you be limited to one instance of an OS?," he said.
Nowadays any company can make use of virtualisation but originally some major applications would run fine but smaller ones would not. But it has now become so commonplace now that it actually works, according to Broadhead.
But there are still many things that can go wrong, Broadhead warned. "If you're using mainstream software on a mainstream operating system then it is usually fine but if move out of that then things get more difficult."
Paul Di Leo, boss of Zeus Technology said that the basic issue is that virtualisation is growing but hasn't reached the real vision where it can automatically replicate applications across multiple servers and sites. "Once we arrive there – then mass adoption will happen. The other challenge is how application vendors are going to charge for that model," he said.
But despite the promise of virtualisation the panel was at pains to point out that you can't take advantage of it until you have done the basic auditing and organisation of your systems. "The management of the complexity – in terms of application performance – many companies have not done basic auditing of what they have got. Step one is to audit your servers and applications," said Yankee's Mendler.
"Servers have been so cheap to buy that people have deployed them without thinking about it. But now power consumption is becoming a limiting factor so now there is some auditing going on," added Di Leo.
Ultimately the panel concluded that virtualisation is less of a technology issue and more of organisational and political issue.
Check out our Virtualisation Toolkit for more on this issue.