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IT Giants Battle for Virtualization and Cloud Dominance

IT Giants Battle for Virtualization and Cloud Dominance

The Desktop and its Operating System was yesteryear’s battleground. We know how that story turned out – Microsoft won that war. Then the browser wars began and that battle rages on. Similarly with the rise of smartphone technology and other mobile platforms, Nielsen has even declared Android as the smartphone winner – only time will tell for sure.

The bottom line is that the giants of IT are seeking out a winning control point in this new Cloud computing paradigm, and virtualization – the ability to run multiple operating systems on the same physical server, which is currently dominated by VMware, is a key Cloud enabling technology.

The Market Intel Group forecasts the 2011-2016 global market for virtualization at $290 billion, and $300 billion for Cloud computing. With so much at stake, it’s no surprise that the virtualization wars are now well under way.

Whether it’s today or 10 years from now, Cloud computing is our destiny, and leading IT companies are quickly repositioning their portfolios for the game of the decade. Companies like Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and other IT leaders recognize that while many workloads are suitable for the Cloud, there are other workloads that are not.

Generally, horizontal applications, those applications that easily traverse industries, such as email, CRM, BI, for example, are best suited for Cloud migration. Vertical applications, or those that are highly specialized, say a bond desk trading application, are less well suited to migrate.

The split between the different types of enterprise applications is somewhere around 60% horizontal, 40% vertical. On the point of enterprise migration to the Cloud, the numbers don’t matter – whether it’s 70/30 or 30/70, the outcome is the same – hybrid clouds.

Some large enterprises and state governments will be able to pursue private cloud solutions, smaller SMBs will mostly rely on public clouds, though for the mid-market to the low end of the enterprise market, hybrid clouds will be the name of the game. At least until there are simpler SMB virtualization solutions.

One exception being organizations that have the in-house intellectual firepower and other necessary resources to build their own private clouds – universities, and SMBs that specialize in high tech for example. Even large enterprises may ultimately decide to leverage public cloud solutions once they are sufficiently comfortable with the underlying issues inherent in migrating enterprise assets outside corporate walls.

Besides, enterprise users are demanding their IT departments provide elastic and dynamic capacity, provide resources on the fly, thus generally forcing enterprise IT to quickly get comfortable with Cloud computing, and address whatever concerns they may have about security, privacy, and other issues.

As a practical matter, if you’re running a hybrid cloud or planning to, you’ll want to seamlessly shift workloads from your Data Center infrastructure to a cloud service provider, and back if necessary.

VMware is the 800lb gorilla in this segment of the market, though Microsoft’s SMB installed base provides an excellent beachhead for its Hyper-V virtualization offering, and is commonly thought of as the virtualization solution of choice for SMB, particularly those that are an all Microsoft shop.

Not wanting to be left out of the game, Citrix recently announced its Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) 1.0, an open source server virtualization platform.

Regardless of the vendor, virtualization offerings will have to work on providing an integrated stack across server, storage, network, operations management, and support heterogeneous environments that could have a wide variety of hardware and operating systems. In addition, interoperability and mobility of VMs between enterprise infrastructures and cloud service providers has the potential to commoditize the virtualization market in the long run.

In the meantime, if you’re a large heterogeneous enterprise or service provider positioning your portfolio for a hybrid cloud future, and need to manage 1000s to 10,000 VMs, VMware’s vCloud Director helps you leverage, integrate, and manage multiple cells to scale up to 25 vCenter servers and 10,000 VMs.

VMware accomplishes this with its proprietary self-learning analytics engine that integrates numerous data points into an aggregate view of the health of the environment, workload, and capacity to determine deviations from normal operations and provide smart alerts. A key competitor in this area is Netuitive’s Behavior Learning engine that provides predictive analytics across virtualization solutions and can interchange hypervisor licenses across Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen Hypervisor, and VMware.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Brian Forbes, Senior Director, Global Alliance Marketing, VMware at a “public vs. private” cloud roundtable discussion at Intel’s Day in the Cloud, and his hybrid cloud position is consistent with the earlier phone briefing I had with Rob Smoot, Director of Product Marketing at VMware to discuss vCenter.

It was clear in Rob’s presentation that VMware is leading with an IT as a Service strategy targeting the hybrid Cloud.  They have defined and are delivering on a new IT operational model to address the challenges of highly virtualized operating environments with its new vCenter integrated management platform offering.

Key benefits:

  • VMware vCenter Server gives you the ability to manage more than 1,000 hosts and up to 10,000 VMs from a single console.
  • More than 300 VMware partners directly integrate with vCenter Server, allowing you to easily extend the platform.
  • vCenter fully integrates with vSphere and will provide full visibility into all layers of your infrastructure.
  • Integrated approach to performance, capacity and configuration management
  • Intelligence and visibility to enable higher levels of automation and control

vCenter can be purchased in Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise editions starting in late 1Q. Pricing for a perpetual license begins at $50 per VM.

With the recent VMware announcements, and just announced advisory commission with Benioff and Capellas heading the VMware-Cisco-EMC alliance supported by Intel to advise Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, on government Cloud deployments worth $20B+, we can expect even more focus and interesting developments on highly virtualized environments, and Cloud computing.

So how will you manage your highly virtualized environments?

By Ray DePena

Full disclosure: The opinions expressed here are my own. I have no stock or other financial interest in any company mentioned in this blog post. I am a member of the Ulitzer Blog Network serving as Founder and Editor of several Journals, and am not an employee of CloudTweaks, Ulitzer, SYS-CON or any other media company where this article may appear.

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