How to virtualise: Six predictions for 2010

What's the next big thing in virtualisation management? Vizioncore's vice president of EMEA explains how to best virtualise your systems and what's hot and what's not.

With this overview of how to virtualise your data centre, Roger Baskerville, the vice president of EMEA at virtualisation management vendor Vizioncore, shares the inside scoop on what's hot and what's not, this year.

Using multi hypervisors has taken off big time -- why?

Downloading and installing applications will become a thing of the past.

Roger Baskerville, VP EMEA Vizioncore,

Roger Baskerville: Using several hypervisors,to virtualise an environment, has become very popular amongst data centre managers -- this could be from VMware ESX, Microsoft's Hyper-V or Citrix's XenServer. There are several cost benefits to doing so. Virtualisation starts in test and development before moving to a production environment, but the IT manager may want to use a different vendor in different environments as they believe they are at different stages of progression. This allows you to choose the right hypervisor for the right purpose.

VDI, for example, is taking off in the U.K. Citrix and Microsoft have already made several advances in this area, and VMware is getting there. A data centre manager may decide to have Microsoft Hyper-V in test and development, VMware ESX in production and use Citrix XenServer to deploy VDI.

VDI -- is it actually happening?

RB:U.K. companies are seriously looking into VDI and projects are happening, so data can be tracked better and the IT manager can be more aware of how to manage everything when virtualised. VDI projects are not just about sharing desktops -- everyone is given their own virtual machine (VM), which then becomes their desktop. Upgrades,therefore, no longer have to be done physically.

The justification on the upfront cost for VDI is not with the desktop, but with the security of deploying VDI. Everything is locked away in the virtualised data centre and managed from there.

Cloud services -- who is using them and are they growing in popularity?

RB: Cloud services continue to grow in the U.K. because shared infrastructure reduces costs. This will gain traction amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in particular, as more and more companies realise that backing up data locally is not always enough to safe guard them against a disaster. For example, if there is a fire in your building, all your servers will be burnt along with the data on them if they are not backed up somewhere offsite.

Cloud services are reasonably priced and are simple to use. It's just a third party data centre and an application that's shared by other companies.

Overall management of VMs -- is this the next step in virtualisation?

RB: Many U.K. companies that have invested in virtualisation have deployed several VMs by now. So now it is dawning on these companies that specialist software is needed to manage a large number of VM's in an environment that has been virtualised.

Now that the initial deployment is complete, IT managers are working out how to solve problems, such as estimating when they will run out of capacity,when they will run out of memory, when they will need more physical machines, when they will need more disks, etc.

Therefore, capacity planning will continue to grow in popularity. Vizioncore will be expanding its vFogLight product from VMware to Hyper-V later this year, due to this reason. More IT managers are realising that it is not wise to virtualise and then use physical backup and management tools in a virtual environment, as you will end up with agents everywhere.

Application aware virtualisation -- why is this becoming increasingly important?

RB: The software that is chosen to monitor VMs needs to have knowledge of the application running in the machines, not just of the health of the VM itself. Tools designed to monitor the performance of the application, running on the VM, are also necessary.

Nine times out of ten, an end user problem is down to the application, not the VM it's running on. For example, an end user wanting to recover an individual file: The backup systems in place needs to be aware of the files on the application if an image or an email needs to be crawled back.

More virtual applications on packaged VMs -- will downloading and installing application become a thing of the past?

RB: More companies will choose to distribute applications or software as a VM, instead of physically sending them out to customers for installation on their operating system.

This is already happening: Many software companies are already packaging VMs ready for downloading. Downloading and installing applications will become a thing of the past. If an IT manager decides to virtualise the company's environment, then downloading entire VM's will also make upgrading and patching much easier to manage.

Kayleigh Bateman is the Site Editor for SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.

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