Virtualization and Cloud Computing: A Perfect Pair

July 27th, 2010 by

vmware-cloud We saw back in our government FOSE survey that cloud computing is set to follow a similar path as virtualization has over the past couple years. Both virtualization and cloud computing saw a dramatic increase in planned tools from 2009 to 2010, with a 15% jump for virtualization management and a whopping 20% jump for the cloud. We’ve known since 2008 that virtualization and cloud computing were the next wave of technological changes for IT operations. The latest Gartner CIO survey lists Virtualization as number 1 (number 3 in 2008) and cloud computing at number 2 (number 16 in 2008). Virtualization technologies are maturing and user expectation are changing.

Some say that “cloud computing is virtualization taken to its logical conclusion”, but is that really the case? Ellen Rubin says that it’s actually the cloud that is giving virtualization a chance to get back into the spotlight. It appears that VMware has taken the opportunity to jump headfirst into the cloud hype, and with perfect timing. The numbers don’t lie, VMware reported exponential growth (a 48% increase) with their Q2 revenue numbers from 2010 over 2009 (but that may also be because the economy is better this year).

The outlook for the rest of the year is certainly focused on the cloud with the release of software updates for vSphere specifically for cloud. The ideal end state, according to VMware’s Vice President of Marketing Bogomil Balkansky is is a hybrid cloud that is connected both to internal cloud systems and services as well as securely connected to external cloud services, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 and Google services. The newly updated vSphere is slated to be a “foundation” for cloud computing.

With more and more companies turning to virtualization and cloud computing technologies to manage their IT infrastructure, there is an increased need for effective and integrated network monitoring. IT network management will need to adapt and scale for more distributed networks, and avoid “virtual stall”. Virtual stall can occur when enterprise IT is not ready for the rapid growth associated with virtualizing data centers and introducing the cloud. Scalability, management, process and coordination issues are all key factors of virtual stall, mostly due to a  lack of automation and reporting in virtualization management tools. Service delivery can suffer without automated monitoring of virtual machines to coordinate and integrate complex systems.

Whether or not you think that virtualization paved the way for the cloud, or that the cloud is just a natural continuum for virtualization, we think that the two technologies make a perfect match. Users are demanding always-on and always-connected resources, which means that it is becoming even more critical for businesses to align their technology goals with their business goals. Efficient real-time monitoring and reporting for virtual environments becomes even more important with the on-demand and self-service nature of the cloud. Some may say that virtualization and cloud computing are disruptive or even confusing technologies, but without them, IT would not be able to move as fast as it is today.

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