Virtualization is a very broad topic that includes mechanisms to move many types of functions into a logical environment that can have enhanced characteristics over physical environments. Access to applications, the applications themselves, processing of system functions, networking functions, storage functions can all be moved into this logical or virtual world. These functions, of course also need security and management.
Most organizations of any size have used virtualization technology for mainframe environments for over 30 years. Midrange system environments have been part of the party for 15-20 years. The newcomer to the party, late but much loved, is the industry standard system regardless of whether it is running Windows, Linux or UNIX.
So, the typical datacenter is like a museum of computing. It contains technology from many suppliers, each doing something useful for the organization.
Virtualization technology for industry standard systems, being the newcomer to the party, is not as advanced as that found on mainframes or single-vendor industry standard systems but, it is being improved very rapidly.
It is a very rare organization that has totally virtualized all functions in their datacenter, has a workable management environment for those resources and has gone into production using those tools.
What tools should be deployed first and what comes next sounds like a simple question but, the answer isn't at all simple. The best answer depends upon the goals of the organization. Some typical goals are improved performance, scalability, reliability/availability, utilization and manageability. What virtualization tools are adopted and when depends upon the organization's goals.
| || Goal || ||Order of Tool Selection|
| ||Performance || ||Processing virtualization in the form of a grid or cluster, server application virtualization may also be deployed; storage virtualization, network virtualization and management of virtualized resources|
| || Scalability || ||Processing virtualization in the form of a cluster, storage virtualization, access virtualization and/or client side application virtualization, network virtualization and management of virtualized resources|
| || Reliability || ||Processing virtualization in the form of a cluster, server application virtualization, storage virtualization, network virtualization and management.|
| || Utilization || ||Processing virtualization in the form of virtual machine software or operating virtualization and partitioning software, management of virtual and physical resources in the form of datacenter automation/orchestration software, storage virtualization, network virtualization and access virtualization.|
| || Manageability || ||Management of virtual and physical resources in the form of datacenter automation/orchestration software, Processing virtualization in the form of virtual machine software or operating virtualization and partitioning software, storage virtualization, network virtualization and access virtualization.|
As one might expect, failing to plan is planning to fail here. Each type of technology must be used appropriately or the results will be less than expected. I've seen many go into the realm of virtualizing some portion of their industry standard system operations without a plan and in the end, they find that their issues with performance, reliability, and managing complexity only increase.Organizations have been seeing benefits in the mainframe and single-vendor midrange systems for decades. Now they're looking to replicate those benefits in the area of industry standard system-based application systems. If they've developed a good plan and then executed it well, they do find the cost-reduction, better utilization, better performance, etc. that they were seeking. Those who have gone on the journey without a map often end up somewhere other than where they wished to be.
How has your organization gone about the process of selecting technology?