Feeds

Server virtualisation beyond the x86 environment

Is the virtual life outside of x86?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.