|By Mike Wronski||
|January 17, 2011 06:00 AM EST||
"Virtualization...all the cool, smart kids are doing it!" Or at least that is the message being pushed by the virtualization vendors. Mostly this is a true statement. There are plenty of market studies that show that more than three quarters of medium to large enterprises are leveraging server virtualization technologies of some kind. What is not evident in that statement is that for most enterprises, their overall use of the technology is not as widespread as is implied by the statement. For many organizations, virtualization utilization is in its infancy (from a maturity of use perspective) or not a material percentage of the overall IT infrastructure.
Even with the exponential growth of virtualization usage over the last few years, the majority of applications have been based on simple consolidation ROI and used primarily in areas of low risk (IT assets, or test-development environments). Recently the term "VM Stall" has been thrown out along with some research that identifies some of the top reasons why organizations have initially deployed virtualization at a high rate but then significantly slowed that pace down - a virtual "glass ceiling" built on a number of common factors. The good news is that all of these concerns are addressable, and organizations can continue deploying virtualization and reap not only the simple consolidation ROI, but also start moving toward the operational efficiencies promised by utility or cloud computing. The following sections will outline some of the most common areas of concern and provide some guidance on how organizations can break through that ceiling and achieve their virtualization goals.
Cloud computing (or the vendors pushing it) must take some responsibility for putting the brakes on virtualization deployments. For over a year now, VMware has transitioned their marketing towards "cloud." Every ecosystem software vendor has followed suit with some angle on how their software enables cloud. The problem is that companies that are not sophisticated virtualization users are getting confusing and sometimes conflicting messages not just about what cloud is, but how it can be used. The result of this is that some CIOs are pausing and looking at their virtualization efforts and then attempting to reconcile cloud. Do I even need cloud? When? Do my current virtualization plans conflict with or complement a cloud future? These are all valid questions that unfortunately end with answers like, "It depends." This in itself is not a bad idea, but because of the mixed messages around cloud, making an informed decision can be complicated. My suggestion for organizations that are stuck in cloud confusion: Move forward and keep virtualizing! There are enough benefits to virtualization technologies that warrant moving forward, and based on the road maps of the major hypervisor vendors, the ability to leverage cloud from existing virtualization deployments will be a key feature of each vendor's solution.
Another key issue that prevents some applications from being deployed in virtual environments revolves around security and compliance. Applications such as health care and financial transactions that fall under regulatory control of HIPAA or PCI have been the ones most impacted by these concerns. Partially this is due to a lack of specific requirements (in the case of HIPAA) or ambiguous language (PCI DSS) in the documentation. The PCI Council has addressed the virtualization concerns in their latest release of the DSS  and in its accompanying guidance document, which specifically clarifies that use of virtualization is not specifically excluded from PCI environments. There is also concern over virtualization being "different." Though it's true that virtualization is a new layer in the IT stack, all of the traditional security domains apply. Actions like Access Control, Network Inspection, Segmentation, and Separation of Duty are all required in the virtual datacenter. For some items, existing security measures and software will suffice. In addition, as virtualization has matured, the hypervisor vendors as well as the ecosystem have begun to offer solutions to address these areas with specific attention to the virtual domain. Though virtualization is somewhat different, it's not new security practices that need to be performed, it's new approaches to the same practices that may require virtualization-specific software and staff knowledgeable enough in both virtualization and the security domains to be able to apply the security concepts appropriately.
The staffing issue is next in the list of concerns that slow down adoption. It's not just in the security area that a specific virtualization skill set is needed. For many enterprises, virtualization knowledge is held within a small team. This team is independent of the other traditional data center groups of infrastructure, security, storage and software applications. But virtualization is unique in that the domain crosses all of those groups. The typical scenario is that even though an enterprise has been successfully growing the virtual environment (in both size and sophistication), the team may not be keeping pace. At some point the team will start to lose their ability to manage the environment to its fullest, which can manifest itself in a non-performing environment or a reluctance of the team to take on more applications; both slowing and stopping growth. A solution to preventing the situation is first to fully accept that successful virtualization requires a much greater cooperation between what were traditionally siloed technology groups. Something that is easier said than done, but an absolute necessity. This allows for shared responsibility and distribution of the management of portions of the virtual domain to groups better positioned to own these technologies. This will cause a trend toward the virtualization team becoming more architects and conductors of the virtual environment, while the day-to-day management is broken down into the sub-domain experts.
In addition to a shift in the datacenter management staff strategy, it's also important to leverage management tools that enable the cross-domain approach. The virtualization ecosystem is filled with software solutions tailored to specific problems or tasks. If there is no alternative, IT departments must purchase some very specific point solutions to solve problems. The downside to point solutions is that in quantity they become very cumbersome to manage. There can be a long learning curve for each product and the combined costs may also reach a point where the operational costs cut too deeply into the expected returns of virtualization. The large software vendors and some forward-thinking smaller vendors are aware of this issue. While large vendors are buying up the smaller point solutions to integrate into their management portfolio, small vendors are busy building virtualization-specific, cross domain management tools. Both approaches are valid as there are many knobs and dials in virtual management, and it's highly likely that different staff in very different roles will need to access the same controls and information. The choice is to buy different tools for each group, thus driving up operating expense, or deploying software designed for the virtual datacenter that provides both the consolidated management and domain-specific controls and views. When choosing the tools, look for real integration of the tool sets in both user interface and reporting. The power of such tools is the ability to leverage data across multiple control planes through a common interface.
There is strong evidence that enterprises reach a level of virtualization deployment that causes the process to slow down, and that cloud confusion, security and compliance, enterprise/staff maturity, and manageability are top on many CIO's minds. Virtualization and cloud computing are a paradigm shift. With that shift lies the commonality in all of the suggestions above, a change in approach and thinking for how datacenters are managed, that will enable organizations break through the virtualization glass ceiling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 2, 2015 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 505
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 352
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 334
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,421
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 140
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,077
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,173
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,297
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,204
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,775
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,049
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,044
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 333
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,910
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,586
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 404
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,973
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 486
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,553
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,502