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Virtualization: A quick reality check

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Last week we talked about what lies around the corner in virtualization land. Many indicators suggest a quick reality check is in order.

Leave to one side for a moment the evangelists who predict the imminent death of the enterprise data centre and take a step back to survey the scene.

If we set off down the road to virtualization, are we heading towards dynamic nirvana or a provisioning nightmare? Technically and organisationally, can we reach our goal without getting lost, or did Jay Kay get it right and we should moonwalk off and try another game?

Virtualization technology is broadly applicable across the entire IT estate, but the breadth and depth of what we could do with virtualization presents many practical challenges. There may even be a danger of over-stretching ourselves. On the other hand, those of you that have seen all this before, albeit under different names and guises, may have already got a sensible game plan in mind.

The idea of everything coming together in a virtualised world - servers, applications, desktops and storage - and the value of having it all integrated with a single approach and management framework is pretty cool. It’s also a pretty serious end point in itself, without even considering the exciting things we could do with service sourcing from third parties, once we have the infrastructures to handle it.

But we wonder how many organisations are structured – technically or organisationally - to cope with so much joined-up-ness. The people running each piece, whether it’s a business unit or parts of the IT real estate, are often separate. Do we currently lack a major feature, the so-called management framework?

If many islands of politics, budgets, processes, skills and fragmented accountability exist in organisations today, then realising the full potential of virtualisation might actually have little to do with the availability of the enabling technology.

A key finding which crops up time and again in our research, regardless of the topic, is the notion of accountability and ownership to drive change. Who is responsible for pulling the threads together, for making it happen? At the nitty-gritty level, we know it’s you guys. IT’s voice needs to be acknowledged when it comes it working it all out.

As you are the people that ultimately know what’s going to work and what’s not at a practical level, we’d love to know what you think about all this. ®

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