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Virtualization Meets The Real World

Virtualization is nothing new. Companies having been using the technology for decades in mainframe and proprietary environments but a confluence of cost factors and recent technology developments are compelling businesses to put the technology to work in other environments. David Wagner, BMC director of solution marketing for capacity Management and provisioning recently spoke with Systems Management Pipeline Editor Amy Larsen DeCarlo about server virtualization in the enterprise today and some of the management challenges associated with it.

ALD: Can you set the stage and tell me some of the reasons why there is so much more development attention and customer interest in virtualization now?

DW: What I think is really going on here is the technology enablement is happening at the same time as companies are under incredible business and IT cost pressures. You put all of this together and there is this perfect storm forcing people to really look at doing IT in a different way.
Proprietary Unixes like AIX, Solaris, HP-UX implemented virtualization 3 or 4 years ago and it was adopted very slowly and gradually for high-end architectures, very expensive hardware typically used for large-scale database applications. Virtualization in the distributed world got its start there but what really has made it explode were two major phenomena.

One was VMWare being first out of the shoot to create, and I don't mean this in the pejorative sense, really a down-market version of virtualization that made it accessible from a cost standpoint. What we saw was in the last two or three years people playing with virtualization on industry-standard servers primarily in their development organizations. Development groups run more applications on the same set of hardware at the same time which of course is a good thing from a cost standpoint.

In the last two years especially Intel and AMD in the x86 market continued the acceleration of ever-more compute power on the chip. They moved to dual core architectures and now they are putting hooks for virtualization technology and hypervisors directly in the hardware itself.

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