Virtualization is best defined as a technology that allows you
to run a number of operating systems on a single server, simultaneously. The
broad benefit is improved agility to those who implement it in their
enterprises. The use of virtualization technology promises to reduce total cost
of ownership (TCO), and increase utilization of existing storage systems.
Gartners vice president, Thomas Bittman believes that
virtualization was no longer only about server and storage consolidation and
cost saving. He says, "It is now less about the technology, and more about
process and cultural change within organizations. Virtualization enables
alternative delivery models for services. Each virtualized layer can be managed
relatively independently or even owned by someone else, for example, streamed
applications or employee-owned PCs. This can require major cultural changes for
The Road Ahead
Firstly, SANs will become a mandatory companion for virtualization, forcing
even smaller companies to purchase network storage equipment, falling back to
cheaper NAS only for very small projects. And, to reduce costs, and be ready to
scale up, cheaper ISCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) models with
modular architectures will be the preferred choice. At the same time,
virtualization will drive sales of high-density multi-core CPUs, which leads to
higher consolidation ratios.
A single eight-core host will easily accommodate thirty-two
virtual machines on an average, enough to build a complete data center for SMBs.
And, if this is not enough, Intel is already working on an 80-cores prototype.
In such a scenario, hardware will have to be more reliable than ever, obliging
customers to buy more expensive hosts, with each physical component doubled,
including motherboard and CPU. The companies too will start preferring solutions
that are already supported in virtualization scenarios.
The total number of virtual machines deployed worldwide is expected to
increase from 540,000 at the end of 2006 to more than 4 mn by 2009, according to
Gartner, but this is still only a fraction of the potential market!
Virtualization is having a considerable impact on the server
market worldwide. Every virtual server has the potentiality to take another
physical server off the market. Today more than 90% of users deploying virtual
machines are doing so specifically to reduce x86 server, space, and energy
costs. According to Gartner, virtualization reduced the x86 server market by 4%
in 2006, and it will have a far greater impact by 2009.
In India, BFSI and telecom will be the key demand drivers while
in mid-markets media, entertainment and manufacturing will be vital. The major
players include HP, IBM, and Red Hat.
In 2007, enterprises will continue to adopt virtualization.
Nearly every major hardware and software vendor, right from IBM to Intel to
Microsoft to virtualization giant, VMWare, expects it to become more pervasive
in 2007. However, virtualization, along with related sever technology
(containing multiple processors), will change how software and hardware is