Virtualisation: Emperors new Clothes

Paremus colleagues continuing to flag articles to me, and partially restored vigor (New Year and all that) – have conspired to overcome my Q4-07 Blogger’s Block.

I’ll start by briefly para-phrasing the recent crop of virualization articles.

Virtualization is great because…

  • You can increase data centre resource utilization.
  • You can simply restart a service on a new physically platform, should the current physical platform fail.

However there may be some dark clouds on the horizon because…

  • Resource / Dependency Management and Security are problematic
  • Operational Risk may adversely affected

Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!

Isn’t it obvious that, “visible” runtime complexity is increased by current forms of virtualization. Given this, it is surely no surprise that virtualization can negatively impact manageability, OPEX and, ironically, service availability?

Increasing server utilization at the expense of increased runtime complexity seems like a poor trade; especially if you remember that complexity is proportional to the number of skilled personnel required – and so OPEX. From a recent survey by Sun Microsystems ( Sun Survey ) it would appear that many CIO’s would agree.

Meanwhile, we’re told that:

“the IT industry will develop a new generation of management tools to address manageability and security issues created by virtualization. A great opportunity for start-ups and large IT companies alike”.

Doubt this? Then check the current datacentre virtualization hype, and the number of VC funded companies in this market sector. Clearly the adage – “Identify the Pain – and sell them the Aspirin” is still in vogue with our VC friends. Unfortunately such strategies are at best simplistic; at worse, they demonstrate both the level of stupidity only achievable via a fully qualified MBA, and also the lemming behavior of the IT industry.

This time, the patient (Enterprise IT), really does need more than yet another, in a long sequence, of expensive Aspirins.

But perhaps the established IT vendors will address the problem?

Let’s see. How many established vendors after 15 years of client server computing have enterprise management frameworks that are:

  • Simple to Use
  • Cost Effective
  • Simple to deploy
  • Address simple requirements like configuration management for software, server, storage and networks.

Its been a while since I’ve been involved in this area (i.e. HP Openview, Tivoli and the like), but I suspect the answer is still the same.

So what real hope is there for extending such solutions to address the new complications posed by the service virtualization?

I’ll let the reader come to their own conclusions.