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Up the V Stack

Still suspicious of virtualization? Its encroachment into every aspect of IT may force skeptics to reconsider. Nothing, it seems, is going to stop this juggernaut.

"Think of virtualization as a stack," says Brian Duckering, senior director of products and alliances at Appstream, a vendor of application streaming software for use with desktop virtualization. (See Symantec Steps Into Streaming and Symantec Adds Vista Virtualization.) You can start with decoupling the server OS from its underlying hardware, then move up from there.

It's a progression that storage managers already know. They accept the ubiquity of VMware, and Microsoft, Xensource, and Virtual Iron are cranking up their virtual engines. (See VMware: The Charging Bellwether.) They're also familiar with the progress in file- and block-based storage virtualization. (See Storage Virtualization Edges On.) Thin provisioning is the talk -- if not the toast -- of the town in IT. (See Pillar Pushes Provisioning, Capacity, 3PAR, NetApp Join Ranks, and The Skinny on Thin Provisioning.) And switch-based virtualization looms on the horizon. (See Storage Cannibals.)

Each of these tacks could benefit storage managers by reducing the resources they need to back up and secure stored data. And now, the proposition is being extended to data center elements hitherto untouched.

Take desktops, for instance. Virtualizing desktop and laptop configurations is supposed to help ease centralized setup, backup, and security for remote workers. (See Insider Eyes Virtual Desktops.) Enter suppliers like VMware, XenSource, Novell, Parallels, and Red Hat. There's even talk of making desktop virtualization a service, eliminating the IT middleman even more. (See Wanted: Virtual Desktop Services.) The chief holdup, it seems, is Microsoft's unwillingness to budge on issues of licensing software for virtual machines.

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