Everything will be virtualized eventually

Virtualization makes list of Gartner's top 10 trends influencing infrastructure and operations over next five years as IT organizations look to virtualize "everything", says research firm.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--In the next five years, organizations will see growing importance of virtualization as the technology expands from servers to other realms of IT.

At a Gartner conference here Friday, the research firm's vice president and distinguished analyst Carl Claunch, said virtualization gained popularity in recent years where IT organizations were not only applying virtualization technology in servers but also other systems including storage, networking, desktop and applications.

Storage virtualization technologies such as data deduplication allows organizations to save on storage space and energy, as only one instance of a file is kept instead of duplicate copies of the file in different locations, Claunch explained.

He added that network virtualization will be able to solve some "really complicated issues". "[Without virtualization], if you want to move an individual object with an IP address somewhere else, you have to worry about what network range it is part of and the routing," he said, noting that this would require "very careful advanced planning".

"Virtualization in networking will allow us to move anything somewhere else, and have it hide all the details--it doesn't matter which network range or subgroup it is in," he said.

Turning to desktop virtualization, he noted that it reduces the need for the IT department to manage multiple remote clients. He added that by streaming virtualized applications, IT administrators will not need to patch multiple software sitting on different machines.

With virtualization technology developing fast, Claunch suggested that organizations look at different problems they face and assess if there is any available virtualization technology that can resolve these issues.

The analyst was in town to present Gartner's top 10 trends that will affect infrastructure and operations in five years. The list includes:

  1. Virtualization;
  2. Big data;
  3. Energy efficiency;
  4. Unified communications;
  5. Staff retention and retraining;
  6. Social networks;
  7. Legacy migrations;
  8. Low-energy servers;
  9. Cloud computing; and
  10. Fabrics.

According to Claunch, data is expected to grow 800 percent within the next five years where much of this will be unstructured data. He urged companies to look to tiered storage to reduce cost instead of storing every data in the same storage media.

With data centers consuming a significant amount of energy, the analyst noted that this will be an area governments will be scrutinizing. Companies, too, will want to ensure their data centers are energy-efficient and consumers will expect vendors to operate environment-friendly data centers, he said.

As it is not possible to know when governments will roll out green mandate in their respective markets, Claunch advised organizations to start measuring the energy efficiency of their data centers and compare themselves against other companies. If the energy rating is poor compared to others, organizations will need to put in effort to improve their ratings, he said.

The arrival of digital natives in the workplace was also a repeated theme in Claunch's presentation. He noted that the use of unified communications and social networks in the organization will be driven by Gen Y employees who are used to working with such tools.

Organizations that wish to attract "top people" from this generation will have to adopt such tools or risk having employees leave for other companies, he noted.

However, companies will need to set clear guidelines as Gen Y employees' perception of which content is deemed private and public might not be the same as an organization's policies, he added.

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