Top 10 predictions for virtualisation in 2009

Virtualisation can transform your organisation as well as saving you money. It will be a key business enabler in 2009. These are 10 things the CTO of market leader VMware thinks will be happening.

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As the woes of the world economy extend into 2009, governments and businesses will be increasingly forced to do more with less.

This is one of the key value propositions of virtualisation, and as a result, virtualisation is increasingly at the top of the list of strategic priorities for organisations worldwide.

Many begin their virtualisation efforts with server consolidation to immediately save money on hardware expenses as well as on power, cooling, and facilities. Moving into 2009, organisations that have started their virtualisation journeys with server consolidation projects will extend its use to the desktop, storage and networking areas, as well as to provide more flexible and economical approaches to business continuity, security, and application service level agreements.

For virtualisation’s money-saving capabilities as well as its transformative affect on the industry, we have another exciting year ahead. Here are the 10 top trends in virtualisation that I believe are worth watching for in 2009:

1. Virtualisation of the enterprise desktop breaks out.

The “desktop dilemma” – i.e., the business choice of whether to provide thick or thin clients for employees – will begin to be solved in 2009.

Thick clients, including fully loaded personal computers (PCs) and laptops, provide employees with a rich set of applications in their desktop environment, but can be a management challenge since applications can be distributed across thousands of PCs that must be provisioned, updated, patched and secured individually.

Thin clients are cheaper, more secure, and more cost-effective to manage, but traditionally have not been able to deliver the richness, flexibility, or compatibility of thick clients. Most businesses provide thin clients only for employees, such as call center staff, who can be productive in this more restrictive environment.

New virtualisation-based approaches will solve this dilemma by combining the benefits of both approaches – delivering rich, personalised virtual desktops to any device (whether thick or thin), while simplifying management and securing endpoints with virtual desktops hosted in the datacentre.

Virtualisation is the essential platform for efficient, manageable desktops in an increasingly mobile world. In addition, better remote display protocols and use of the local machine’s compute resources will ensure an even better user experience, and the combination of online and offline modes will enable use when employees are traveling or when they do not have access to a higher-speed network.

2. Storage becomes truly virtualisation -aware.

Storage is a critical building block in the virtual datacentre, and new advances in virtual storage will dramatically increase the flexibility, speed, resiliency, and efficiency of the virtual datacentre in 2009.

New virtual storage solutions will automate handoffs between the virtualisation platform and the storage infrastructure, simplify storage operations, and maximise efficient use of your storage infrastructure.

In particular, look for solutions that offer native array support for common storage operations on virtual machines such as replication and migration; thin provisioning and de-duplication capabilities to optimise storage usage – which is particularly important for the desktop use case; and virtual machine-based storage (virtual storage arrays) solutions.

3. Virtualisation of high-end applications becomes mainstream.

Going forward, a combination of hardware and software advances will remove any remaining performance concerns over running the highest-end and most mission-critical applications in virtual environments.

New chip advances – for example, Intel Extended Page Tables (EPT) and AMD Rapid Virtualisation Indexing (RVI) – are particularly good news for memory-intensive applications and high-performance computing. In addition, the ability to purchase more and more applications as pre-packaged virtual machines, and improvements in the licensing and support policies offered by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), will continue to drive the trend toward the virtualisation of any and all applications.

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