Monday, October 22, 2007
Virtualization has come a long way, it has come from the cradle of the developers to the masses. It has happened right under our noses, and then we are talking about the noses of all the big business firms that ignored the trend. It has happened and exploded while many of the vendors were sleeping, and now it is taking over the x86 servers, 95% of the market yet to be capitalized, and soon it will proliferate into the desktops, mobile devices and who knows, some day into your daily appliances such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, TV sets, Green Vehicles, Oven/Microwaves, all apparatuses that consume energy. And it will come to all of us, even to you, as a consumer, who will be held accountable for your energy consumption at work, but also at home.
I see it as an "optimization phase", with the advent of windows we saw a visible shift from “Centralized Computing Environment”, the mainframes computing where everyone got its own “space” on the mainframe, to the “ Distributed Computing Environments” where freedom came and also came production of cheap, affordable and windows equipped servers and PCS, lots of them! PCs and X86 servers were cheap so we all went ahead and bought them. We had servers all over the place and they didn’t even have to look like “servers”, most of the critical data and tooling units were installed on the PCs that functioned as “Tooling Servers”, there are many other cases where we have had the phenomena of “owned servers” that “need not be touched as they belong to a specific department”!
For system administrators the past years have been pretty easy. Managing windows environments has not been a really “challenging” task. If you wanted to go and deploy Exchange Server, SQL Server, it all has been pretty simple in the past, all you have to do is order a new server and do that 200Mb installation where all options are default and you just end up using what you have. We pay and we renew but somewhere along the line, a lot is changing and a lot is happening. The IT trends are continuously changing, look at Google, it suddenly pumped a whole new life into the web. The same can be said of VMware, it has suddenly forced all of us to look at our Infrastructure and do the best we can to fully and optimally utilize it.
Virtualization is set to change the way we will be living and working, our working identities are about to change. Virtualization is also going to affect global economy in ways we are seeing unfold in front of us. We are heading towards a “Global Economy” and this is all being accelerated with virtualization, which I consider the “catalyst” for the Kondratieff Cycle. As you can see in the figure below, we are already heading towards the next cycle. Will it be AI (Artificial Intelligence)? We are observing a strage trend here, “Traditional IT” are dying out, they are all going to China, India and then they will go to Africa, Mexico until we happen to find ways to start optimizing on that as well. For instance look at the Call Centers, Help Desks, slowly and steadily we are heading towards a “Self Managing, Self Serviceable” process where consumers can “help themselves” with all the means provided to them. Obviously with virtualization you can do a lot, think of replaying a “scenario to the customer in the form of a movie” which assists the consumer to react adequately to the situation. So you see this is leading us towards an age of “AI” with a human touch, I hope for all of us. For now, we are already finding ways to optimize on those ailing business units.
Courtesy: kwaves.com (Here you can read about it in detail)
Virtualization, with the advent of consumerism and aspirational computing, is the hybrid solution which we need to help position between the “Centralized Computing” and the “Distributed Computing”. Obviously there are other predictions, such as that of Gartner where Fabric, I would personally reword it and call it “Human Fabric”, Real Web, again I would want to think in terms of “Harmonized Workforce and Worknets”.
I do not need to get into the details of how poorly and underutilized the current servers and PCs are. According to Butler Group, there is upto 97% of savings to be made, purely on energy on desktops. And yet another 60%, as per the study, on server environments. Imagine yourself, why would you need to empower a PC with 220W while you can make them thin PCs, coupled with VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions, to use only 5W! Business leaders have a very challenging task to “look through the layers of monitoring, applications and infrastructure” to really see the significant benefits of all the workforce , human and non-human both. Today a “reactive” decision has to be made, based on the poor financial results, to shelve a business unit or more, while we always knew that it was under-performing! How would you react if you knew that your workforce was only working 10% of the paid time? But more importantly is to also address this question: How to we address this dilemma with harmony and creativity? Fortunately with an agile business infrastructure, we ought to stop using the term IT infrastructure, and with adequate transparency, business leaders will be able to make not only strong but “ethical” business decisions.
To Conclude: Virtualization has indeed come a long way, back from the time when it was being introduced by the engineers of IBM, the creativity could have stayed to the mainframe but as the freedom was experienced by the masses, there was more excitement to “own” the PCs and servers, today we have clients who literally “own” the physical hardware! This is about it change, just like back in the 20s , Rudolf Diesel and Henry Ford, began their quest with peanut oil and alcohol but were somewhere along the line distracted by the discovery of cheap and easy to fire up “rock oil”. Today 90 years down the road we live in a different world. Fortunately we are not too late to take the environmental responsibility and start using virtualization to not just save costs but also thinking about our environment.
In Part II - I will address the administator issues but I will make it fun, we will upload all kinds of virtualization videos (I have already made a few) to administer the virtual environments and business infrastructures.
Part III -I will focus on business managers and and business architects.
Part IV - will focus on the CxOs, the business leaders who not only have to shoulder this responsibility but can also use it to make smart business decisions.
Part V - will focus on all of us, the consumers.
I will also publish this doc when I'm done writing it up and have done thorough grammar/syntax checks.