I spoke with Don Norbeck out of Wayne, Pa., this morning. He's director of product development for SunGard Availability Services, though a more appropriate title might be SunGard Virtualization Guru. Or Evangelist.
Welcome to "part two of my soon to be a series" covering virtualization in large hosting centers. And yes, there will be a third.
Full disclosure -- in the bad old days, I worked at a Fortune 100 that mirrored all critical systems (mainframe, Solaris, and x86) to SunGard's Thornton, Colo., center. They were a critical piece of my employer's disaster contingency planning.
SunGard has been relying on virtualization concepts as part of its disaster recovery offerings since day one. One way to look at it: Clients essentially lease a worst-case-driven mainframe "timeshare" as an insurance policy. Need a third contingency site for hosting your giant DB/2 environment? Sign on to SunGard in case you have a really bad day at your two primary sites. They'll spin you up.
SunGard's changed its product mix over the last 10 years, adding live hosting services to the tune of roughly one-third of its revenue on top of disaster recovery clients. Recent acquisitions of Inflow and VeriCenter were made to increase data center footprints, inherit talented warm bodies, and bring over additional clients. Its primary driver for acquisitions has been adding square footage, bringing its holdings to 27-plus hosting centers.
SunGard's take on virtualization? How 'bout "what's old is new again" -- Sun Containers, AIX, AS/400 have all been in-house forever. For the 23-year-olds out there, mainframes and midrange were "virtualized" long before VMware was a gleam in anyone's eye. SunGard dove into testing of ESX early last summer and began offering customer-facing VMware hosts in September. Norbeck was happy to say SunGard has achieved Gold VAC (VMware Authorized Consultant) status.