Future of virtualization in mobility, live migration

CIOL Bureau
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FRAMINGHAM, USA: The rapid embrace of virtualization has helped change the economics of IT by not only lowering capital costs, but reducing operational costs as well. As customers become more familiar with the technology, virtualization is increasingly being used to solve more than just server consolidation challenges.


While the next logical step beyond server consolidation is virtualization for client or desktop consolidation, there are a number of hurdles that must be overcome for server-hosted virtual desktops (vdi) to achieve its full potential.

IDC believes the next wave of adoption will be centered on mitigating the problems and costs associated with system downtime. IDC estimates that server downtime cost organizations roughly $140 billion worldwide in lost worker productivity and revenue in 2007.

As virtualization software effectively decouples the application stack from the underlying hardware, virtual servers can be copied, backed up, replicated, and moved like a file. Moreover, a growing number of virtualization software providers have incorporated the ability to do live migrations. These two capabilities provide a low cost means of quickly reallocating computing resources without any downtime.


"By directly addressing the need for cost effective business continuity, virtualization will alter the economics of IT a second time," said John Humphreys, program vice president in IDC's Enterprise Platform Group. "More importantly, mobility will be the defining feature that will move virtualization beyond just a tool for consolidation. The embrace of mobility will allow customers to use virtualization for business continuity, capacity planning, and eventually as a solution in delivering service-oriented computing."

In the capacity planning use case, users will treat multiple hosts as a single pool of resources and virtual machine loads will be balanced across the pool based on processor, memory, and I/O utilization levels, as well as policies set by the user. This will enable IT architects to plan at the resource pool level with the knowledge that any demand spikes will be met by a fast and efficient reallocation of the available server resources.

IDC believes that "policy based automation" could be achieved by bringing together SOA and virtualization. In this scenario, IT professionals would be able to shift the delivery of infrastructure and applications over to management systems that are linked to policies and service levels set by the business. Although achieving this vision would require unprecedented collaboration in the industry, if it were successful, it would be a key step from service-oriented computing to moving IT into the "cloud.