2011 is ticking away and VMworld 2011 is history but yet, not one word on the next big focal point for virtualization vendors. Sure, vendors are busying themselves with new versions and day-to-day support issues but is there a big picture outlook for them, and us, for the next 12 to 18 months? There are eight particular areas that I see as potential focal points but some of them deserve more attention than others.
- Acquisitions - Big fish eating little fish.
- Applications - Software that uses virtualization on the back end.
- Desktop - Beating a soon-to-be dead horse.
- Development - New versions and cooler features that keep us interested.
- Infrastructure - The glue that holds it all together.
- Management - Software that makes our lives easier.
- Security - Things to make our computing environments safer.
- Services - What we use virtualization for--the services it provides.
My analysis is that virtualization vendors, primary and third-party, should focus on security, infrastructure and applications.
Businesses have a high sensitivity to security right now with all of the hacks and attacks going on. Vendors need to do something about it. Towards a more secure hypervisor, VMware chose to use the ESXi model for their newest incarnation of vSphere: Version 5.0. It is a great idea to decrease the hypervisor footprint to basically a running kernel.
If a company other than VMware is going to make headway in the virtualization space, they must focus on security--hypervisor security, virtual machine security, application security and service security. When a company purchases virtualization technology, its officers and customers need to know that their investment is secure.
Virtualization vendors need to focus on performance. Abstraction leads to poor performance. How many times have you migrated a physical workload to a virtual one only to have to move it back to physical? It happens often. Very often. Performance is the major complaint. We must marry hardware and software to form a single virtualization-optimized system. Intel and AMD have made and are making great strides in this direction but the CPU isn't the only part of the computer that requires enhancement.
We need for hardware vendors to deliver virtualization-optimized architecture on every component. Yes, this means re-engineering and re-architecting currently available hardware but with all of the new cloud-based businesses and businesses wanting to leverage virtual workloads, it's no longer an option not to do it.
Application virtualization is the future of end-user computing. Users will purchase computers with lightweight operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and rely on applications over the Internet. In a disconnected state, the operating systems saves data locally and synchronizes it in a connected state. Get on board. Applications, not operating systems is where it's at.
These three out of the eight listed are the most important focal points. All but one is vitally important to the near and far future of computing: Desktop. If you're focusing on desktop computing from an operating system point-of-view, "you're doing it wrong." (My favorite Mr. Mom quote).
It's not a post-PC era, it's actually a post-Desktop OS era. Stop messing with and blowing money on desktops. No one cares. No one's gonna care. Unless you're in the business of creating the next generation of lightweight operating system, stop it.
The true future of computing lies in two places: Data Center and Devices.
By devices, I mean phones, tablets and other mobile computers (laptops, netbooks, ultrabooks). We need security. We need native performance. We need applications. Anything else is yesterday's news and a waste of money.