Virtualization and ILM 2006: Looking Back
Virtualization will continue to normalize across more areas
On the competitive front, we anticipate that Microsoft will decide that since it now understands some level of virtualization, it has solved the universe's problems again. Just as all new fathers believe that they have reinvented fatherhood, so Microsoft will have its first hypervisor this year. It should be interesting to see how the market adapts their technology along with all the other new products coming out of Redmond this year.
Competitively, we expect to see all the management vendors jumping into the act. BMC and CA are mightily interested in management as is Cisco, who we've mentioned several times as having an interest in becoming the core technology. Certainly there is virtualization in the network as well, and certainly if there's a network, Cisco will not be far behind.
In 2007 virtualization will continue to normalize across more areas. SANs and NAS have been common for years, and VMWare is no longer the disruptive technology it once was. Other forms of virtualization are just emerging into the mainstream however, particularly at the software level. Although we've spoken mostly about systems virtualization, application virtualization also exists. Companies such as Veritas (Symantec) and Sun have created application virtualization offerings that have matured in 2006, and Softricity's Softgrid did application virtualization for the desktop.
We also anticipate a lot of concerns around virtualization security, particularly as it grows in the Windows space. The issues of how to use virtualization to secure platforms will grow; an example of that in the form of virtual software could take off if Microsoft can leverage the SoftGrid technology it got from its purchase of Softricity in 2006. There will also be issues of how secure virtual platforms are and we expect to see the security vendors leaping out.
Finally, there are the financial issues. Software licensing based on processor gets substantially harder to do in a virtualized environment, particularly one in which virtual machines are created and destroyed on a regular basis. We anticipate license negotiations as customers and vendors work out new deals for changing infrastructures. Programs from companies like CA which offer leases on software may not be appreciated by the financial analysts, but from an IT manager's perspective, they make good sense and provide both CA and the customer with maximum flexibility.
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