Interop NYC (the Fall version of the largest IT show) is just around the corner (Oct 18-22, register here), and InformationWeek editorial director Fritz Nelson recently sat down with Interop general manager Lenny Heymann with the video tape rolling to talk about the main themes of this year's program. After watching the video (watch below), the three themes that rise to the top are cloud computing, consolidation, and the consumerization of IT with the undertow to all three being the future of the datacenter. Not mentioned in the video but clearly an important theme is a 2-day seminar that's just for CIOs and CIO wannabes: CIO Boot Camp: Imagination Delivered -- CIO as Innovator.
According to Heymann, over half of Interop's IT professional attendees expect to get a boost in their 2012 budgets with private clouds and one of the keys to running them -- virtualization technology -- being the main economic drivers to how those budgets will be spent. One of the highlights of Interop NYC is a two day instructional enterprise cloud summit, the first day (Monday, Oct 18) of which is dedicated to the art of running private clouds. (The second day of the summit, Oct 19 focuses on public clouds).
Additionally, Citrix and Microsoft -- two of the big four providers of virtualization technologies (the other two being VMware and Red Hat) will be among the many exhibitors on the show floor discussing their wares: XEN Enterprise and Hyper-V respectively. Also on-hand will be many of the enablers for virtual machine technology, from the big like HP (which runs a sizeable private cloud portfolio) to the small like Netlist whose HyperCloud technology breaks through the physical memory ceiling of many servers. According to HyperCloud director of business development Paul Duran, with the prevalence of high speed networks like Gigabit Ethernet and Infiniband, the only remaining physical bottleneck to getting more performance out of servers is their native memory limit: one that HyperCloud claims to have broken through.
Private Clouds And Consolidation
Private clouds "happen" when, behind their firewalls, organizations embrace some of the main principles of cloud computing such as on-demand compute power and highly automated optimization of resource utilization. Virtualization technology -- where entire systems (eg: a physical server, its operating system, and all the software running on it) are encapsulated into software modules ("virtual machines" or "VMs") -- has been the lynchpin to making the most of under-utilized servers. With virtualization technologies, IT managers can take 20 physical servers, each of which originally ran at 25% of their capacity, virtualize them, and pack them into five or six physical servers thereby eliminating the costs associated with running as many as 14 or 15 of the physical machines. Virtualization thusly a key opportunity to consolidating a datacenter.
One of the other big advantages of virtualization is the ability to move those virtualized systems (the VMs) from one physical machine to another on an as-needed basis. For example, if a VM requires about 1/4th of the resources from the physical machine it's running on, but periodically needs more resources, it can be easily moved (almost as simple as copying a file) to another machine that has the spare resources to support that peak demand. According to Heymann, the automation of these and other datacenter management tasks -- where VMs are moved around in a constant vigil to optimize physical resource utilization -- is a hotbed of activity that will be well-represented at Interop NYC. Part of the event includes an all day program that's just for IT managers wanting to go deep on virtualization management.
Another hotbed of conversation at Interop NYC will be the consumerization of IT. In the video, Heymann tells Nelson that it was one thing when individuals walked into the company with their own mobile gear, asking the IT department to enable that gear for connectivity to corporate resources. But now, a tipping point has been reached. Not only have IT departments started to see the value in the newer crop of mobile devices (iPhone, iPads, etc.), but a whole new wave of such devices is soon to arrive, driven largely by the Android operating system as well as recent announcements of business-ready tablets from RIM and Cisco.
Between the datacenter consolidation and public cloud deployments underfoot and renaissance in the enterprise mobile space, Heymann noted that the one slightly overlooked fundamental that IT managers are turning back to is the network management itself. Such efforts are sometimes putting data and applications (particularly Web-based apps) farther away from the devices connecting to them. As a result, those apps are slowing down and another look at why is deserved in order to complete what could ostensibly be thought of as an organization's Datacenter 2.0 plans. To address the need, attendees to Interop NYC will find both an Application Delivery 2.0 conference track as well as offerings from several WAN optimization solution providers.
Using a variety of compression, caching, and congestion management techniques, WAN optimizers are designed to accelerate applications that are negatively impacted by latency that's common to distanced connections. One trend to watch for is the virtualization of the WAN optimization solutions. Companies like Certeon have already ditched their WAN optimization hardware-based appliances for virtual machine-based ones that can run on just about any VM platform.
Here's the video:
David Berlind is the chief content officer of TechWeb and editor-in-chief of TechWeb.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you also can find him on Twitter and other social networks (see the list below).