It used to be that even mentioning putting mission critical systems in a virtual environment would get you blank, confused, and sometimes hostile stares. Over the years, however, virtualization technology has matured significantly, and many businesses have begun to adopt it.
Part of this spur in adoption has been driven by the “cloud” buzz. “We’re telling customers that the more you virtualize, the better it will be for you when you move to cloud,” said Bobby Mulligan, director of online and cloud services at Champion Solutions Group. “At first, they’re cautious, until they get the performance matching up to what production requires. After they see that, they’re a lot more willing to adopt virtualization.”
Still, there is room for the technology to grow. VMware CEO Paul Maritz recently cited analyst predictions that over half of workloads, industry-wide, will be processed in virtual environments by the end of the year.
Some VARs are noting extreme adoption rates. Shane Vinup, president and CEO of Minnesota technology solutions provider, Cyber Advisors, estimates that 95% of his customer base has migrated at least one mission critical application to a virtualized environment.
What is driving the adoption
Vinup shows that the “tipping point”, when IT directors and CTOs get over their skepticism and decide to give virtualization a try, occurs when they see that virtualization will not hurt performance. In fact, in many cases, they will see performance improvements.
Often, virtualization is a step needed on the path to the cloud, and businesses are starting to realize this. “What’s happening is that companies are developing cloud strategies and they’re moving their whole data centers from physical to virtualized in preparation for private cloud offerings,” stated Mike Strohl, president of Entisys, a California based virtualization VAR. “This means everything is being virtualized, except for critical databases.”
Data Warehouses: First Tier is The Final Frontier
Ask most IT directors, and they will shudder at the thought of virtualizing their critical data warehouses. “In most data warehouse environments, there’s a legacy mindset of putting big data on a large physical array and physical server.
But that’s going to hold back the infrastructure from evolving. “We’re getting customers to realize that through virtualization, they’re not going to have to sacrifice performance — they’re actually going to gain and utilize more resources,” Shepard said. “It’s all about application portability and mobility, and you have to do it through virtualization.”
“We’ve done a good job of taking lot of infrastructure applications and virtualizing them. Now the focus is on virtualizing tier one applications,” says Carl Eschenbach, VMware’s president of customer operations.