|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.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the data to create additional revenue streams, such as improved warranties or premium features. Or slash...
Sep. 5, 2015 03:00 AM EDT
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.
Sep. 5, 2015 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 998
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Sep. 5, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 413
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.
Sep. 5, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 256
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Sep. 4, 2015 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 458
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 535
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 4, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 101
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Sep. 4, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 152
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 4, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 231
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Sep. 4, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 275
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Sep. 4, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 124
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp 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. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 507
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, 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. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 300
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 4, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 114
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 406
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 437
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,622
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Sep. 4, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 671
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Sep. 4, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 340
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
Sep. 4, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 229