Virtualization is growing up

At a recent event the presenter, making reference to Pee Wee's Playhouse, said "virtualization is the word of the day". Of course, all of us older-yet not quite mature individuals had to cheer every time someone said the V word. For you yougsters, I am sure an internet search will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about Pee Wee and the word of the day.

Virtualization is everywhere. If you have been avoiding it, i recommend *this* well constructed summary as a background guide to everything you should already know.

From my perspective two major trends are driving the maturity of virtualization. First, on the software side - there are now multiple players. Yes, VMware is the market leader, but there are credible and demonstrable solutions available from Xensource, Microsoft, SWsoft, Virtual Iron, and others. Virtualization software is increasingly differentiated by the management tools and solution breadth, not the ability to virtualize.

The second significant trend is the change in hardware platforms. Both Intel and AMD have incorporated extensive features into their processors to support and simplify virtualization. Intel has extended this integration to their chipsets and network adapters with Intel virtualization technology for devices and Intel virtualization technology for Connectivity.

Virtualization has become the principle tool in the *data center* survival toolbox. No enterprise data center optimization can be effectively executed without the big V. This is sometimes referred to as virtualization 2.0,,, but like the web and many other 2.0 things,,, it is much more of a continuum between simple usage models - consolidate small servers , and advanced usage models - dynamic load balancing.

I met with three enterprise architects in the last week, all were looking at virtualization as the foundation for their dynamic "utility-esque" compute platforms. To quote the chief architect at a major bank - "the most efficient and affordable server I run is a VM on a Xeon platform". Managed virtualization can deliver efficiency, affordability, and flexibility. At this point you are either actively rolling out virtualization or you are not paying attention.