At VMWorld 2007, it felt like the dawn of a new era. Virtualization was taking off and the buzz was incredible. Free from economic crises and bailout drama, companies were playing with this new technology and touting their “big” implementations of 200 Virtual Machines (VMs) and growing VM infrastructures. Clouds were still fluffy and Hyper-V was “coming.” At the time, none of us would have guessed where we’d be today.
Here we are, just over a year later. Some things grew beyond our wildest dreams. Today, a 400-VM implementation is considered “moderate” and others fall short of expectations. At this holiday season, we can’t help but wonder what 2009 will present. Through conversations with firms of all sizes, it seems clear that 2009 will bring with it a set of interesting and sometimes divergent trends:
Expansion: Despite, or perhaps because of the imperative for IT to lower costs, virtualization will continue to grow in the datacenter as firms virtualize more and more applications. One of the few surefire techniques to cut floor space and power costs, virtualization will continue to deliver savings, meaning environments will grow from a few hundred VMs to a thousand by the end of the year.
Diversity: Multiple hypervisors, more operating systems and more actual platforms – from Solaris to mainframe – are entering the domain of virtualization. What used to be “your VMware environment” will become “your virtualized environment” encompassing all servers, storage and other resources associated with virtual resources.
Homogeneity: Ironically, the breadth and complexity of the environment is driving the need for more homogeneity in VM configurations. Once, having 60 “standard builds” was fine but 2009 will bring with it a strong desire to trim the varieties down to a manageable few.
Elasticity: The beauty of a VM is its ability to grow and shrink its resource utilization. In the next year, as cloud adoption picks up, the same elasticity will be applied to the datacenter, leveraging external resources when needed to pick up the extra workloads.
Optimization: This coming year, economic and budgetary concerns will impact virtualization groups as much as the rest of the IT staff. Managers will be asked to do more with less. The first step likely will be to evaluate how their current resources are being deployed and how they can reduce waste.
As 2008 comes to a close, another chapter in technology progress will end. The groundwork has been laid for a truly virtual datacenter and in 2009 we will continue to see innovative implementations that will have bigger impacts on an organization’s bottom line results.
John Suit founded Fortisphere in 2006 and is responsible for developing the core technology behind the FortiSphere product suite. John has invented and launched many new products in the security space. He continues to advise the Department of Defense and Directorate of Central Intelligence in the areas of virtualization security and management as well as information operations.