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Virtualization in 2010 through a newbie's eyes

Senior News Writer Beth Pariseau, a storage industry veteran, looks back on her first year covering the server virtualization market.

When it comes to virtualization's effect on storage infrastructure, I've always had a certain mental image in mind:

A server administrator, having consolidated machines and shown off the cost savings to his boss, leans back in his chair, puts his feet up on the desk and breathes a sigh of contentment. Then, from another room, you hear the muffled screams of a SAN administrator.

I spent my first five years as an IT reporter covering storage and hearing these screams firsthand. As I began to feel an itch to do something new, transitioning into the virtualization world -- learning the other side of the story, so to speak -- seemed a natural progression. So, in June, I left the data storage beat to cover the server virtualization market. But in a way, I'd already been covering virtualization for a while.

Storage and virtualization converge
I spent the first couple of years covering storage administrators' attempts to master networked storage and then tiered storage, always with the presumption of physical server I/O. That was challenging enough for admins.

But around 2007, server admins started unleashing virtualization in production, and many of those carefully architected storage towers began to crumble. And by 2008, it had become tough not to notice the effects of virtualization on storage technologies, storage management, and storage vendors. That year, I covered my first VMworld, because I considered it a core show that had a significant effect on the storage market, and I returned to the show in 2009.

Upon joining the virtualization beat in 2010, I asked members of the industry which topics they felt should be covered more. A surprising number mentioned integration with the infrastructure, especially storage.

The virtualization industry was becoming aware of the complexities of the underlying virtual infrastructure much in the same way storage admins had become aware of virtualization and how it was going to change their world.

New beat, same topics
Also, as I'd expected, the interplay between virtualization, networking and security is similarly complex, and it's going through a similarly rapid evolution, as I learned from reporting on VMware's vShield Edge, vShield App, vCloud Director and vStorage APIs.

While keeping in touch with some of my storage colleagues, the running joke has been, "new beat, same topics." It has been fascinating to see how virtualization pros tackle infrastructure problems in similar ways to those of their storage brethren. With each passing day, the two worlds are converging more and more.

I expect the "new beat, same topics" joke to hold up in 2011, and that convergence between storage and virtualization will continue, grow thornier and become more fascinating from a reporter's perspective.

Beth Pariseau is Senior News Writer for Email her at

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