Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/19/virtualization_future/

What next for virtualization after we sort our servers out?

Virtual Insanity?

By Martin Atherton

Posted in Infrastructure, 19th November 2008 11:54 GMT

When we asked Reg readers for their views on virtualization last year, we thought we’d found the voice of reason. We still do.

As a rule, mainstream businesses were getting stuck into x86 server virtualization, often in the name of consolidation. It was nice to have side effects, like smaller electricity bills and positive fodder for the PR machine have been talked about a lot this year too.

Let’s jump ahead to where this could take us. A very simple view of future business IT is that we virtualize the pants off everything and apply superior (to what we have now, generally speaking) management and governance layers to achieve the ‘dynamic IT environments, that so many have heralded, for so long.

One day, our dynamic IT environments might end up looking like clouds. After all, cloud infrastructures are dynamic virtualized environments, in essence. Once we’ve all got one of these, matching or at least being compatible with external service providers’ infrastructures means we can take advantage of everything we’ll ever need in terms of raw processing power, application development platforms, and all the software we ever used in the old fashioned, desktoppy kind of way. Apparently.

In the here and now, much is to be gained already in business performance and operational efficiency. So are we done yet with consolidation or have we barely scratched the surface? Do we really have things like heterogeneous OS management licked in a virtualized environment and issues such as VM sprawl and security under control?

Here’s an even bigger whopper of a question: Do you see the hyper-virtu-dynamic IT environment as reality in your working lifetime? There are specific examples of lots of clever things organisations have done, thanks to virtualization doing the rounds. But they are by no means the norm.

In your organisation, does virtualization solve some specific pains today, and pave the way to lots more flexibility in the future in terms of taking advantage of other people’s services? Or is it all just virtual insanity, as comedy hat-toting Jamiroquai front man Jay Kay pointed out back in 1996?

Let us know, we’d love to hear your views.