Novell: Virtualization not for all servers

Not all apps suitable for virtualized platforms, so infrastructure providers must make hybrid setups work as one, says open source company's cloud chief.

Not all servers can--or should--be virtualized, says Novell cloud computing CTO, Moiz Kohari, who urges cloud service providers to focus on making their heterogenous setups work as one.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Kohari said virtualization has yet to overcome I/O (input/output) latency issues at the hypervisor level, as compared to provisioned servers. As a result, virtualization is not the choice in cases where service providers and businesses need to ensure as little latency as possible, for example, in a stock exchange environment, he explained.

And with adoption hovering at 20 percent according to Gartner, though some put it at a lower 5 percent, server virtualization deployment remains a far cry from the mainstream adoption that vendors had expected would happen today.

"For the next five years, most machines will still be provisioned," noted Kohari.

He said Novell's engineers are working to resolve latency issues related to virtualization. However, until such technical barriers are overcome, cloud infrastructure providers need to operate hybrid data centers in order to support apps that run on both virtualized and non-virtualized servers. For them to be scalable, cloud apps are typically built to run on virtualized systems.

"Current cloud [offerings] only work on infrastructure that's already virtualized... [Cloud apps developers] expect basic virtualized infrastructure to already be in place," he said.

Cloud infrastructure providers must then ensure their hybrid environments--of virtualized and non-virtualized servers--work "on demand", he said. "Service providers have to be able to provision and deprovision at will."

Kohari noted that in choosing their virtualization stacks, "every single company [he] has spoken to wants access to an open source stack, in addition to a proprietary stack".

He explained that this measure is aimed at guarding against vendor lock-in.