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IT Trends for 2016 Part4 –Virtualization

Level 13

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.


Virtualization is truly the ghost in the machine.

Level 13

API data centres, virtualization, software defined data centers, cloud based computing, whatever you want to call it, it's here to stay, and every year it's getting better. I couldn't imagine having all my servers physical data center would be massive...even for a small shop like ours.

Level 20

It seems some of the recent partnerships such as VMware and AWS hint at some of where things are going.  Also support for containers.

Kudos to you for noting the importance of training and staffing levels.   I'd emphasize them even more, and place them higher in the list of items to consider before deploying or changing any "V" worlds.

Level 13

I think that the key to an Openstack decision has to do with many things, but it should never have to do with costs. Supportability and maintenance, training, learning curve, etc can so change the metric that often overrides the costs factor so as to make it a wash. that level of conversation

A company must avoid making business decisions based on cost. There really needs to be business rationale behind these kinds of decisions. Does Openstack resolve agility, orchestration, application development, cloud related problems? If so, the conversation is valid. If not, then you're fooling yourself if you think that ultimately it'll save you money.

I hear you, and agree with the philosophy.  But I've no idea if any company can make decisions that are not based on cost.  Instead, I'd turn it over 180 degrees and require them to consider decisions based on results created by insufficient training, insufficient monitoring, etc.

You'd probably find every MBA and successful business owner opposing your ideal statement--they'd say they must only make business decisions based on cost.

One of my best past employers analyzed cost and found ways to at least break even when retiring old technologies and migrating their supporting employees to new products, services, or technologies.  Rather than letting a good employee go when that employee's job function was reduced or downsized or removed, they'd research new technologies in other areas and move into those different product areas if they could make $1 more than by not going into those areas.  The result was employees who didn't fear losing their jobs when technologies or trends obsoleted or removed their specialty skills.

From a network monitoring view, I love your philosophy--yes, definitely avoid making business decisions based on cost!  But from a business point of view, that philosophy can seem based on having infinite funds for monitoring, and we know that's not reality.

Level 13

You know, you're right, of course. A CFO makes decisions on one hand, the CTO Should make them on the other hand. Accomodations should be made. Often, though, I find these decisions to be poorly orchestrated. My advice, as the "Trusted Advocate" is to ensure that all points of view are given appropriate weight.

I like your optimistic attitude--that your recommendations will be received with equal weight and value as the financial considerations.

My personal experience has more frequently been falling into the category of "I gave them great advice, provided best practices that are industry-recommended and are recognized standards.  If they don't adopt my recommendations (for any reason, including financial), at least I did the best I could for them."

Later on, those correspondences and recommendations can be a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card, when projects fail because someone decided not to follow good advice.  Of course we never resort to the "I told you so" syndrome, but in a professional way we try to steer people back onto the right track by refreshing their memories of the good ideas that weren't followed.

Level 13

You can never be faulted for approaching your architectural conversations with integrity and "best practice." I do agree, the "out" of I told you so is always helpful. And, as always, document your stuff.

Level 13

yeah, documentation is the best....there's nothing like starting a conversation with "well, on October 22nd, at 325 PM, you sent me an email on xyz and I replied with abc...and you agreed. Now you're saying do xyz?

Level 13

My personal favorite is defining the project plan. Particularly, expectations, can be a mess. If you don't define, and get consent on the expectations, you could find yourself in a change management, scope creep, nightmare.

Level 21

ecklerwr1​ I found the move by VMWare to partner with AWS as a desperate response to Microsoft's much grander vision with Azure Stack and the ability to move workloads between hosted clouds (using Azure Stack) and Azure proper.  I should also note that it isn't just a vision, we have actually worked with the predecessor to Azure Stack and it was rather awesome to basically be hosting a mini version of Azure in our lab.  I think VMWare had and still has a great product but they did rest on their laurels a bit too long and Microsoft came out and leapfrogged them when it comes to over all completeness of vision.

As far as containers are concerned, I still can't really see where those are going yet.  I can certainly see the value in them in certain use cases but I am not sure if they will be as industry changing as Virtualization was or just continue to be a use case specific technology.

Level 20

The big win for containers is not needing an entire OS running on a hypervisor for many services, cross platform support (open source and products like VMware and MS), being able to move containers around almost anywhere and having a real standard everyone conforms to is pretty powerful.  The security aspects of using containers to isolate different functions from each other and run them anywhere is HUGE.  I totally get where your coming from as a mostly pure MS perspective.

Level 13

I wonder what the impact of VMware's relationship with AWS may have on Project Photon. Anyone have any ideas?

Level 20

Project Photon is awesome... slimmed down linux dedicated to running containers on VMware.  This can all run and move in and out of AWS if you want.  This is pretty huge I think.


The huge plus of AWS is they have the entire VMware suite of tools already setup already installed and ready to just use.

Check out the online labs they have now:  New Networking and Cloud Native Apps Hands-on Labs Released! - Cloud-Native AppsCloud-Native Apps - ...

Also some would guess that these containers would be less efficient but they would be very wrong... the benchmarks prove it:

Docker Containers Performance in VMware vSphere - VMware VROOM! Blog - VMware Blogs

Level 21

That's awesome info ecklerwr1​; thanks for sharing that!

About the Author
Hi, I'm Matt Leib. I'm an old dude, with years on the customer side, years on the vendor side, and now, years on the channel side. Exist as a Pre-Sales Solutions Architect in the channel space. I specialize in virtualization, orchestration, storage and cloud. On my personal blog, I talk about anything from baseball and music to most technical things I enjoy including personal and enterprise tech. For the last few years, I've been a Tech Field Day delegate, and a blogger on Thwack's Geek Speak as well as a personal blog site at . Always learning, growing (though sometimes, that's the waistline) and striving to be as good as I can. I also like to sing, play guitar, and am a rabid Cubs and Blackhawks fan. I live in Evanston, IL, a suburb of Chicago, also grew up here. I work for Connection Enterprise Solutions, in a strategic solutions role, speaking to C Level on Corporate IT Initiatives