VMware CTO: Virtualization is 'Swiss Army knife' of IT

VMware's CTO along with executives from SAP and Revlon discuss IT business transformation and how virtualizing business-critical apps plays a vital role.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Virtualization has become "the Swiss Army Knife of IT," according to VMware chief technology officer Steve Herrod.

While speaking at a panel discussion about the role virtualization is playing in the business transformation of IT on Thursday morning, Herrod explained that the evolution and success of virtualization lies in the fact that businesses can use it for all different purposes.

Examining where virtualization is presently, Herrod posited that if you look globally at all servers, 50 percent are running virtualized. But to go any farther, Herrod argued that we need to consider two key needs: performance and availability of service levels.

But before that can happen, Herrod cited three instigators for getting virtualization of the enterprise going. The first would be leadership. If that fails, carrots and sticks. Some tricks that fall into that category would be selling the potential cost savings as well as faster implementation.

Revlon chief information officer David Giambruno lauded many of the benefits his company has seen since adopting virtualization, explaining that the number of people doing IT support are now being more proactive and executing applications.

Running VMware 5.1, Giambruno noted that 98 percent of Revlon's computes are running on its internal cloud, making 15,000 automated application moves a month.

Giambruno said that virtualization is returning money and other resources to the business, which is especially evident considering the cost savings that Revlon has experienced is north of $70 million -- either saved or avoided, depending on how you look at it.

He also mentioned two other side effects that has resulted from virtualization and cloud adoption. First, Revlon's project throughput has increased 300 percent over the last two years. Second, the cosmetics enterprise has seen a 70 percent reduction in time for development of applications because of all that data available.

"In this day, it's all about speed and accuracy," Giambruno said. Comparing virtualization in IT to an iPad, Giambruno said it's really just about being able to use the platform with little training (if any) and without hassles.

In regards to mobile trends, Giambruno was so supportive of the shift towards virtualization and the cloud that he predicted, in the next couple of years, no one will ever access data on a mobile device anymore, but rather people will stream applications from the data center.

"You are not going to have data sitting on a device any longer, unless it's really personal," Giambruno argued.

That sets up a huge security shift as well. Thus, Giambruno suggested to encrypt the entire data center and control the access.

Heinz Ulrich Roggenkemper, executive vice president of SAP Labs, concurred with this theory, but he acknowledged that there is a still big disparity between mobile operating systems (especially iOS and Android) as to how prepared they might be for such an environment.

One topic that the panelists seemed to definitely agree upon was bringing personal devices to work, and that this trend is going to continue no matter what.

Roggenkemper concluded, "In terms of bring your own device, it does not make sense to work against gravity."


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