IBM Virtualization Enhancements Help, But Fall Short

IBM raised a lot of hopes with its recent virtualization announcements, but the reality falls well short of IT managers' dreams of the virtual environment.

October 21, 2005

2 Min Read
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In a truly virtualized environment, an overload of a server--any server--would trigger the activation of a duplicate server to fill the gap. Setting up an application would be as easy as providing a CPU priority, a storage type (high-performance, midperformance or near-line) and a level of importance relative to other applications. IT would receive reports of "running low on high-end disk" instead of engaging in the capacity battles it fights today.

IBM still doesn't come close to achieving that goal. The company did announce the ability to auto-provision servers to tasks as well as the capability to set priorities for applications and servers. It extended those capabilities beyond its own environment, including Linux and Windows for the first time. And it extended storage virtualization, which will free storage administrators to focus on more important tasks. But we want it all to work better--now--and IBM isn't there yet. In fact, it isn't much further ahead of the rest of the market.

We need storage and server virtualization to be a single entity that manages our overall systems, regardless of vendor or platform. With fewer places to touch in the process of keeping our systems running, we would have more time to ensure there is enough processing power, disk space and security to service the needs of our organization. We need amalgamated data center virtualization, not the point virtualization solutions available on the market today. The vendors that do storage and ser-vers well in a unified environment--such as Sun Microsystems with E20K--fail to support the entire range of platforms we have running in the data center. Vendors that do multiple platforms well--such as IBM--fail to integrate the entire virtualization process.

The virtual data center is creeping up on us in fits and starts. IBM has moved one step closer with the complete auto-provisioning of the data center, and it's worthwhile to check out those new capabilities. But let's not stop telling IBM and its competitors what we really need: an environment that lets us determine the relative importance of a given application or service, while the automated system worries about how to maintain it.

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