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Virtualization is best defined as a technology that allows you

to run a number of operating systems on a single server, simultaneously. The

broad benefit is improved agility to those who implement it in their

enterprises. The use of virtualization technology promises to reduce total cost

of ownership (TCO), and increase utilization of existing storage systems.

Thomas Bittman, VP, Gartner believes that virtualization is no

longer only about server and storage consolidation and cost saving. He said,

"It is now less about the technology, and more about process and cultural

change within organizations. Virtualization enables alternative delivery models

for services. Each virtualized layer can be managed relatively independently or

even owned by someone else, for example, streamed applications or employee-owned

PCs. This can require major cultural changes for organizations."


The Road Ahead

Firstly, SANs will become a mandatory companion for virtualization, forcing

even smaller companies to purchase network storage equipment, falling back to

cheaper network-attached storage (NAS) only for very small projects. And, to

reduce costs, and be ready to scale up, cheaper ISCSI (Internet Small Computer

System Interface) models with modular architectures will be the preferred

choice. At the same time, virtualization will drive sales of high-density

multi-core CPUs, which leads to higher consolidation ratios.

A single eight-core host will easily accommodate 32 virtual

machines on an average, enough to build a complete datacenter for SMBs. And, if

this is not enough, Intel is already working on an 80-cores prototype. In such a

scenario, hardware will have to be more reliable than ever, obliging customers

to buy more expensive hosts, with each physical component doubled, including

motherboard and CPU. The companies too will start preferring solutions that are

already supported in virtualization scenarios.


Global Perspective

The total number of virtual machines deployed worldwide is expected to

increase from 5,40,000 at the end of 2006 to more than four million by 2009,

according to Gartner, but this is still only a fraction of the potential market!

Virtualization is having a considerable impact on the server

market worldwide. Every virtual server has the potentiality to take another

physical server off the market. Today more than 90 percent of users deploying

virtual machines are doing so specifically to reduce x86 server, space, and

energy costs. According to Gartner, virtualization reduced the x86 server market

by four percent in 2006, and it will have a far greater impact by 2009. In

India, BFSI and telecom will be the key demand drivers while in mid-markets

media, entertainment and manufacturing will be vital. The major players include

HP, IBM and Red Hat.

In 2007, enterprises will continue to adopt virtualization.

Nearly every major hardware and software vendor, right from IBM to Intel to

Microsoft to virtualization giant, VMWare, expects it to become more pervasive

in 2007. Virtualization, along with related sever technology (containing

multiple processors), will change how software and hardware are priced.

Stuti Das