Server virtualization has been instrumental in helping enterprise IT to shrink their data center footprint. The key enabling technology of server virtualization, the hypervisor, is a layer of software that supports multiple operating environments on the same physical system. With virtualization companies are now able to quickly provision new applications using existing infrastructure to speed time-to-market and to consolidate many servers to increase utilization and reduce costs. More applications now operate on virtual servers than on physical systems, which is a testament to how pervasive virtualization has become in the enterprise.
Yet, a closer look at virtualization reveals just how confined it is in the data center. Looking at the IT solution stack of compute, storage, networks and middleware, only compute resources have been transformed by virtualization. Furthermore, the universe of applications running on virtualized infrastructure is dominated by simpler, non-business-critical workloads. It turns out that virtualization is much, much bigger than most have been led to believe.
What if….you could virtualize your mission-critical applications while ensuring or improving service levels? While many still associate virtualization with workload consolidation, top benefits also include faster time-to-market for new services, greater infrastructure flexibility, cost-effective business continuity, and trusted resiliency and security. Workloads such as databases, OLTP, analytics and ERP are the next frontier of applications yet to be virtualized, and these applications require a different approach to virtualization than simply extending existing platforms. (Learn how a Consumer Products company used virtualization to improve business continuity and application performance)
What if….you could take the benefits realized from server virtualization and apply them to the rest of the data center? Storage, networks and application infrastructure are ripe to be virtualized to ensure greater resource utilization, provide faster response to business change, and simplify data center management. This next wave of virtualization requires a comprehensive approach to IT that goes beyond hypervisors. In this new world order, IT infrastructure will need to support many more dynamic workloads and leverage automation to continuously and optimally manage the environment. (Read how a world leading manufacturer deployed virtualization to streamline operations, cut costs and achieve faster response to business requests for new capabilities)
As you plan for this next phase of virtualization, make sure you invest in technologies that enable your data center to be trusted, efficient and simplified. A trusted infrastructure allows for the highest qualities of service and security that are necessary for mission-critical applications. An efficient infrastructure provides maximum utilization of resources, including staff, productivity, energy, space and IT assets. A simplified infrastructure fully integrates data center management to manage the complete IT lifecycle.
IBM will guide you along this virtualization journey. In an upcoming series of blog posts, we will highlight specific virtualization technologies that are essential to your organization and demonstrate how leading-edge enterprises are investing in the latest virtualization solutions. In the meantime, happy virtualizing!
IBM Virtualization Strategy Leader, IBM Systems Software