Who Said Virtualisation Was Supposed To Simplify Things...

So, we went from hardware to software, and then software to virtual, the idea being not only that everything is more efficient, but also easier to scale and manage. Kind of VLANs part two?


Or more like browsers Mk II? I remember visiting a company in Cambridge c.1837 (it feels that long ago anyway) and seeing Mosaic for the first time. I was impressed; so here is the future interface, lovely and simple, makes sense o’t’Interweb. And then there was Netscape, and Mosaic became Firefox, and there was IE of course, then Chrome, Safari etc etc – and each iteration more complex than the last… So what happened to the simplicity of A browser?


And it’s kind of become the same with virtualisation re: the clutter of Hypervisor’s out there now. For example, Cirba, a company wot I’ve mentioned before in this ‘ere blog, which focuses on capacity planning and improved performance/reduced VM “wastage”, has announced it has added support for Linux’s native KVM-based environments in OpenStack-based private clouds. This, in itself, is not the point. It means that Cirba – and others – are now having to support the likes of KVM, VMware, Citrix Xen, MS Hyper-V, IBM PowerVM, Red Hat Enterprise… where does it end?


I guess what it does mean, with yet another “simplification” turning into “complication” is that there is that much more requirement for products that optimise virtual environments. Andrew Hillier, CTO and co-Founder of Cirba, explained that the company enables organisations to balance infrastructure supply and application demand for greater efficiency and control in single hypervisor, multi-hypervisor, software-defined and hybrid cloud environments – What a lovely, simplistic IT world we now live in…


Not that this is putting companies off the move from physical to virtual. Nutanix, a company that goes from strength to strength, despite having the most baffling ‘job description’ – “a web-scale hyper-converged infrastructure company” – announced its most recent customer, and a very interesting one at that: Bravissimo, a lingerie retailer – high street and online presence – is taking the opportunity to end of life its physical servers and move to Nutanix’s virtual computing platform – basically, integrated compute and storage management, which DOES make sense of course! Not so long ago women were burning their bras, and now they’re being virtualised!


Back to the business angle from a Nutanix perspective… what it means is that what typically takes days and weeks to configure, and scales as well as an obese climber, is reduced to a trivial 30-60 minute exercise, AND, additional functionality and apps such as disaster recovery and replication become exactly that – just add-ons. I saw the same concept, pre-virtualisation, work extremely well with Isilon, and they did just fine being acquired by EMC a few years ago. But even Nutanix has to support several different Hypervisor platforms…


Welcome to the world of IT!