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Don't put cloud cart before virtualization horse

It's easy to get caught up in virtualization and the cloud. But don't forget, there are companies that haven't virtualized at all.

Like many members of the community, I am constantly immersed in virtualization.

The vast majority of us have worked with virtualization for years. For many of us, it is our primary responsibility. We design virtual data centers, virtualize disaster recovery solutions, write virtualization articles and speak at virtualization conferences.

Sometimes, however, we may become too immersed in virtualization. It can become very easy to lose perspective and forget that not everyone is livin' la vida virtualization. There are still those in IT who have their nose to the grindstone, fighting to just stay afloat in a difficult market. They have not had the time or budget to researching or purchase new technologies. And as great as virtualization is, it can be difficult to digest for these newcomers.

As technology evangelists, too many of us have moved on from promoting virtualization, shifting our focus to cloud computing and other new technologies. Likewise, too many vendors are rebranding their virtualization products as cloud products.

 Sure, cloud computing involves virtualization, but it is much more advanced. If we focus too much on the cloud, we risk alienating those who haven't even begun to virtualize yet.

Every now and then, we should stop to make sure that those around us are on the same page. There are still a lot of very talented individuals in IT that have not begun to implement virtualization, and there are plenty of opportunities to educate these people.

Today's newcomers to virtualization have so much more information at their disposal than we had a few years ago -- and so many more products to choose from. It can be very overwhelming. We need to be mindful of our audience, do a little listening before we begin talking, and be humble enough to realize that not all value in IT is wrapped up in virtualization -- let alone cloud computing.

About the expert
Mark Vaughn (MBA, VCP, vExpert, BEA-CA) is a consulting principal for data center virtualization with INX, a Houston-based solutions provider. Vaughn has more than 14 years of experience in IT as a Unix administrator, developer, Web hosting administrator, IT manager and enterprise architect. For several years he has focused on using the benefits of virtualization to consolidate data centers, reduce total cost of ownership, and implement policies for high availability and disaster recovery. Vaughn is a recipient of the vExpert award for both 2009 and 2010, and he has delivered several presentations at VMworld and BEAWorld conferences in the U.S. and Europe. Read his blog at

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