Journey into the Virtual World

This blog post is adapted from my book, titled VMware vRealize Operations Performance and Capacity Management. It is published by Packt Publishing. You can buy it at Amazon or Packt.

Who could have predicted many blue moons ago, that a seemingly simple technology, a hypervisor and its management console, would have such a large ramification for the IT industry? In fact, virtualization is turning a lot of things upside down and breaking down silos that have existed for decades in large IT organizations. It is also changing many large IT vendors strategy. It has made cloud computing, a bigger change in the industry, possible.

The change caused by virtualization is much larger than the changes brought forward by previous technologies. In the past several decades, we transitioned from mainframes to the client/server-based model to the web-based model. These are commonly agreed upon as the main evolution in IT architecture. However, all of these are just technological changes. It changes the architecture, yes, but it does not change the operation in a fundamental way. Both the client-server and web shifts did not talk about the “journey“. There was no journey to the client-server based model. It is just an architectural change. However, with virtualization, we talk about the virtualization journey. It is a journey because the changes are massive and involve a lot of people.

Gartner correctly predicted the impact of virtualization in 2007. That was 7 years ago, a long time in IT. 7 years later and we are still in the midst of the journey. This proves how pervasive the change is. Here is a summary on the article from Gartner:

“Virtualization will be the most impactful trend in infrastructure and operations through 2010, changing:

  • How you plan
  • How, what and when you buy
  • How and how quickly you deploy
  • How you manage
  • How you charge
  • Technology, process, culture”

Notice how Gartner talks about change in culture. So, virtualization has a cultural impact too. In fact, I think if your virtualization journey is not fast enough, look at your organization’s structure and culture. Most people I spoke with tell me the problem is not technology. It is politics and culture. Have you broken the silos? Do you empower your people to take risk and do things that have never been done before? Are you willing to flatten the organization chart?

So why exactly is virtualization causing such a fundamental shift? To understand this, we need to go back to the very basics, which is what exactly virtualization is. It’s pretty common that folks who are not hands-on on infrastructure have a misconception about what this is.

Take a look at the following comments. Have you seen them in your organization or your customers’ organization?

  • “VM is just Physical Machine virtualized. Even VMware said the Guest OS is not aware it’s virtualized and it does not run differently.”
  • “It is still about monitoring CPU, RAM, Disk, Network. No difference.”
  • “It is a technology change. Our management process does not have to change.”
  • “All of these VMs must still feed into our main Enterprise IT Management system. This is how we have run our business for decades and it works.”

The last one was actually told to me by a large customer.

If only life was that simple, we would all be 100 percent virtualized and have no headaches! Virtualization has been around for many years, and yet most organizations have not mastered it. In fact, most customers still struggle with the basic, such as performance and capacity management.

In the next post, I will explain what virtualization is. The post is useful for your colleagues who may mistaken virtualization with another technology, such as partitioning.

Leave a Reply