Feeds

Server virtualisation beyond the x86 environment

Is the virtual life outside of x86?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Lab Register readers have told us (pdf) that the virtualisation of significant portions of your x86 server estates are major project areas in which you plan to invest both money and, much more importantly, your time.

This is all well and good, but as everyone in IT understands, x86 servers are not the only platforms in town. So what is happening with other server platforms and virtualisation?

Last August we asked you just this question in a mini-survey. The results, as shown in the figure below, make for interesting reading, especially when considering the length of time that the different platforms have been utilised to host essential business applications.

As the figure points out, almost every organisation deploys x86 platforms, and a growing proportion of these servers are already making significant use of virtualisation technologies. It is worthwhile remembering that it is only comparatively recently that organisations have given x86 platforms equal prominence and trust with well established Unix, mainframe and other systems for the hosting of essential business services.

With this in mind it is fascinating to see that the uptake of virtualisation in Unix and other non-x86 systems is lower than in the currently very fashionable x86 space. In order to make sense of the data it is essential to note first that fewer than half of those surveyed actually make use of UNIX systems, meaning that around half of users are utilising the virtualisation facilities on offer on UNIX servers – which is still quite a big number.

We should also remember that the poll results were self-selecting – that is, respondents would tend to have an interest in virtualisation – so the results only really make sense when compared against each other, rather in absolute terms. For example, while the figure above indicates extensive use of virtualisation on x86 servers, we know that in reality the actual percentage of all such systems that run virtualisation software is still way below the halfway mark.

Another factor to bear in mind is that while UNIX platforms have long enjoyed the ability to use a variety of hardware and software based partitioning and virtualisation capabilities, a large number of such servers only run one application, as shown on the chart below. This is especially the case in small and mid-sized organisations where the majority of applications are hosted on Windows machines with perhaps only one or two applications running on UNIX.

This may partly explain the results here, showing that far fewer traditional UNIX servers have been the subject of server consolidation projects than has been the case for x86 systems.

In this light, the fact that take-up is still nowhere near all pervasive is perhaps is not so unusual despite the major UNIX systems, mainframes and other business servers having had the ability to use virtualisation solutions for a long time, certainly far longer than on x86. However, it is still my opinion that the vendors of UNIX systems have not done a particularly good job of highlighting what virtualisation offerings their systems support, and the potential benefits that using such tools can provide.

Do you use, or are you considering virtualisation on non-x86 servers in your environment? As always, we’d be very interested to know your thoughts on how you see virtualisation fitting into the picture for their operations, if at all. Drop us a line in the comments section below.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.