We have long been in a space wherein Virtualization has played a huge role within the data center. Certainly the concept has existed both within the Mainframe world, and on LPAR for quite a bit longer than it has in X86, commodity architecture, but it wasn’t until VMware under Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Scott Devine, and Edouard Bunion brought that concept to the Intel X86 world that the explosion of capacities in the data center made it mainstream.

 

I can remember doing a POC (Proof of Concept) back in 2004 for a beverage company, wherein we virtualized a file-server in an effort to emphasize the capacities of vMotion when the customer claimed that it simply couldn’t work. We scripted a vMotion to occur every 30 minutes of this file-server. A month later, after we returned to further discuss that the customer re-emphasized their trepidation over the concept of vMotion, at which point we showed them the script logs displaying the roughly 1500 vMotions that had taken place unnoticed over the previous month when they realized the value of the product. So much has been accomplished over the following 12 years. Virtualization has become de-facto. So mainstream, in fact, that the question today is rarely “Should we virtualize, or Should we virtualize first as standard operating procedure?” but “Should we move on from VMware as a platform for virtualization to say, HyperV, Amazon, Azure, or possibly private/public OpenStack?”

 

I’m not going to enter into that religious debate. I can certainly see places wherein all these are valid questions. Again, as I’ve stated before, I stress that you should adequately evaluate all options before making a global decision regarding the platform on which you rest the bulk of your data center services. I will say, however, that these alternative choices have been making huge strides towards parity on many fronts of the virtualization paradigm. Some gaps do exist, and possibly always will. I won’t express those functional distinctions, rather impress on the customer to make educated choices, but I will say that if your decision to go one way or the other is based on money, then you’re likely not looking at the full picture. What may cost less initially, may come with unanticipated costs that go far beyond those that are immediately obvious. Caveat Emptor, right?

 

Needless to say, Virtualization is here. But what will happen, where will the new hot trends come from, and how is it changing? I have no crystal ball, nor are my tea leaves particularly legible or dependable for telling the future. What I can say, though, as I’ve said before, the decisions made today have implications toward the future. Should you choose a platform that doesn’t embrace the goals of the future, you may find yourself requiring a fork-lift upgrade not too far down the road.

 

It is clear that the API is the key to integrations with openstack. If you choose a closed platform, then your lock-in will be substantial. If you don’t evaluate pieces like object storage, API’s, container integration, security roadmaps, etc., you’ll be making choices in a vacuum. I truly don’t recommend it.

 

I cannot stress enough how existing staffing requirements including training can enter into the budgetary decision making process. Please understand, for example, that OpenStack as a decision, should not be made due to cost. Training, and support must be part of the decision making process.