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Virtual server management takes center stage in 2010

As virtualization deployments increase in 2010, virtual server management should be your top priority, members of our Server Virtualization Advisory Board say.

Virtual server management will be especially important for virtualization administrators in 2010.

Members of our Server Virtualization Advisory Board looked into their crystal balls to come up with some predictions for the new year. And they all agreed that virtualization will continue to grow. New businesses will deploy virtualization for the first time, and experienced organizations will virtualize more of their infrastructure.

Without virtual server management, these growing environments can lead to virtual machine sprawl and other problems. Find out how to plan for all of the biggest trends in 2010 as the board members answer this question:

What will be the biggest server virtualization trend in 2010, and how should admins prepare for it?

CJ Metz, Orange County United Way

The biggest trends will be an increased adoption of virtual technologies and increased consolidation through those technologies. As virtual technologies are maturing and competition is growing, more organizations will make the move over to virtualization for many reasons. For those organizations already in the virtual sphere, there will be a larger push to see just how far they can make these machines go, thanks to financial pressure.

I would recommend at the very least launching some kind of a proof-of-concept (POC) deployment on one or two of the competing technologies. (I know that both VMware and Microsoft offer free teaser products to get you hooked.) If you don't have plans to roll out a POC, start planning now!

Eric Siebert, Boston Market

Virtualization deployments will increase in 2010 as more and more companies adopt some form of virtualization. At the same time, existing environments will likely see increased usage of virtualization, as well as expansion into other areas, like desktop virtualization and business continuity. As a result, virtual server management, control and security are going to be more critical than ever.

Virtual administrators should prepare in several ways:

  • Stay ahead of the game. Keep up to date on the latest trends, products and services in virtualization.
  • Keep your skills sharp. Set up a lab or test environment so you can experiment and try new things without affecting your production environment.
  • Stay secure. Don't let down your guard. Security is an ongoing process, and you should continually audit your environment and find ways to make it more secure.
  • Don't get lost in the clouds. There is a lot of hype about cloud computing, but not much adoption of it. Don't be intimidated by all the talk about clouds.
  • Stay in control. Strict control of your environment is critical to prevent runaway growth and virtual machine sprawl.

Shannon Snowden, New Age Technologies

The adoption of server virtualization will continue to gain momentum, and the overall virtualization market will still be in the growth phase. The companies that have waited on virtualization probably will look seriously at Hyper-V as well as XenServer, so those two products should still gain customers. But VMware should continue to dominate server virtualization simply from the momentum they have in the market.

On current and planned upcoming projects, I am seeing a shift in the complexity of the platforms being virtualized in market segments like healthcare. Many companies that have adopted server virtualization have already virtualized the easier workloads but have waited on the more complex, critical workloads on physical servers. My advice to administrators is to get as much virtual server management training and experience as possible now, because the workload complexity bar is being raised each year.

Dave Sobel, Evolve Technologies

Server virtualization penetration will be one of the biggest trends. With Gartner reporting penetration rates only in the teens, we'll see increasing demand in server virtualization. This will require admins to prepare management strategies for larger virtualization deployments.

IT spending will loosen in 2010, but projects will still require cost justifications for approval. Server virtualization has a solid ROI, and admins who can measure and show that ROI will get projects approved. Finally, as the need for administration of virtual machines increases, admins should focus on automating as much of the deployment and management of their infrastructures as possible.

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

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