Virtualisation has been the hottest thing in the IT world for the past few years, but the technologies behind it have been around forever.
Virtualisation, though, is evolving fast. It used to be simply about virtualising servers, but has now spread into virtualised storage and applications.
This evolution has led analysts at IDC to coin the term Virtualisation 2.0, an expression that has yet to gain widespread use and acceptance.
Virtualisation 1.0 is effectively around server consolidation, while 2.0 is around broader uses that are quickening its adoption.
Application mobility, fault tolerant level reliability, desktop virtualisation and an increased focus on management costs rather than development costs are key components of Virtualisation 2.0, says Derek Leitch, director of virtualisation specialists ViFx.
Application mobility and availability are at the heart of Virtualisation 2.0. Previously, hardware maintenance of any sort included at least some planned down-time of applications, be it 10 minutes or 10 hours, whilst maintenance took place. Virtualisation allows for the virtual portability of applications between hardware resources with no break in service to the end user. This application mobility has the potential to have a massive impact on application availability and almost totally negates the need to plan any downtime, Leitch says.
Sydney-based IDC programme manager of IT Spending, Jean Marc Annonier, agrees with IDC on virtualisation being about business continuity and business mobility.
Gartner has predicted Virtualisation 2.0 as being among the top 10 technologies businesses will be implementing in 2009.
We are in the middle of Virtualisation 2.0. Its about virtualisation being manageable. There is no downtime, you can do your migration without outage, he explains.
A whole host of vendors are in this space, such as virtualisation pioneers VMware, plus Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, coupled with other providers like IBM and Gen-i.
VMware ANZ managing director Paul Harapin says the company created the industry with Vmotion, which allows organisations to move from one physical host to another without any downtime.
Harapin says such technology is now pervasive across Australia and New Zealand, with users now looking to extend from simple server virtualisation and consolidation, towards application virtualisation and eventually cloud computing, the next tsunami in virtualisation.
A new product called VSphere Version 4, which he brands a transformational technology, now allows cloud computing for enterprises, and for major telcos like Telecom to offer such offerings as a business service.
Such cloud computing, he says, means organisations wont overprovision on hardware; they will be able to buy as much as they need from service providers, thus making big savings, which are said to be 50% on capital investment and 80% on running costs.
The ability to buy more services as and when required, also boosts their agility, which will mean changes in an organisations processes, he adds.
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