2011 server virtualization predictions from our advisory board

Our go-to experts weigh in on the new products, technologies and buzzwords that will dominate the server virtualization market in 2011.

Now that we know what the big server virtualization news stories of 2010 were, it's time to look into the future.

What will 2011 hold for Microsoft, in its continued battle against VMware? How will cloud computing affect virtualization adoption? And what new technologies will take center stage?

Members of our Server Virtualization Advisory Board answer those questions and more in their following 2011 server virtualization predictions.

What are your 2011 server virtualization predictions?


Jack Kaiser, GreenPages Technology Solutions

Virtualization management and automation tools from OEMs, as well as third-party vendors, will become increasingly more robust and necessary, as service automation and service management interfaces become essential for a creating a private cloud.

The terms "cloud" and "virtualization" will continue to be mistakenly intermingled, causing confusion in the marketplace. This confusion will be exploited by some niche virtualization vendors, as they attempt to describe themselves as cloud vendors to benefit from increased merger and acquisition activity (as witnessed by the recent acquisitions of 3Par, Compellent and Isilon).

The complexity of virtualization initiatives will significantly intensify. This will cause problems for companies who do not have the internal expertise to perform these projects in a timely, cost effective and quality manner, therefore jeopardizing some from ever starting and stalling many ongoing initiatives.


Maish Saidel-Keesing, NDS Group

The per-VM licensing trend will continue and will be the de facto licensing model for all new enterprise products. Many high-density organizations will have difficulty converting their previous per-CPU licenses to the new per-VM model, because these conversion rates will not be in their favor financially.

10-Gigabit Ethernet will become the standard for converged I/O. With that, more organizations will realize the benefits and the simplicity of deploying a network file system (NFS). Multi-pathing for NFS is coming.

Microsoft will continue to chew away at VMware's customer base -- not because Microsoft has a more advanced product, but because of aggressive marketing. The next release of vSphere will once again widen the gap between the two technologies, until Microsoft (and all other vendors) play catch up (again) with VMware's technological lead.

Virtualization monitoring and management will be a must, and we will see a big increase in sales around these virtualization products.


Greg Shields, Concentrated Technology

Microsoft will release a new version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager. It will include some of the features we desperately need and others no one cares about, and it will miss the mark on some that are truly important.

VMware and its partner ecosystem will solidify more details of the hybrid cloud approach, which will see great ballyhoo in the press but little traction in actual deployments.

Major vendors will begin releasing the first round of hardware that's been truly designed with virtualization in mind. Data centers will significantly modularize their hardware approach. Vendors will publish assertions on performance, and true private cloud resource quantification will finally be recognized.

In short, 2011 will be a relatively quiet year for virtualization. That said, the things we find out during the year will absolutely set the stage for big long-term changes.


Eric Siebert, Boston Market

Much of the resistance to virtualization has been eroding over the years, with many companies having adopted it in some form in their data centers. As a result, virtualization deployment will happen at an even faster pace in 2011, as companies look to further increase their virtualization usage.

There will be more acquisitions of virtualization vendors as larger companies look to buy those that are rising to the top of the virtualization vendor pool.

Hyper-V's adoption will steadily increase in 2011, coming at the expense of XenServer and VMware, but VMware will still dominate.

Companies will still be skeptical of going all-in with cloud computing, but that may not stop them from adopting it in some form. Most companies will take it slow at first to build up their comfort level.

VMware will continue to try and put together all the pieces for its future data center vision. Expect to see more acquisitions by VMware in 2011, focusing on security, management and automation.

Somebody will finally end up acquiring Citrix.

Have a question for the Server Virtualization Advisory Board? Email Colin Steele, Senior Site Editor.

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