I don't know about you, but virtualization has been on an exponential curve for me and my career. I first was exposed to virtualization 1999, and it was with VMware Workstation. From there, I've developed with almost every VMware product and expanded my virtualization prowess to Hyper-V and other technologies. Virtualization took off for me in 2007 when ESX 3 came into my responsibility set. Since then, life hasn't been the same.
Looking forward to 2012, I think we'll see a number of things happen in virtualization. Primarily, I think the leadership gap between VMware and Microsoft will be shortened with the increasing features brought by Windows Server 8 and Hyper-V 3. Make no mistake, VMware will push the envelope and drive innovation in the industry, but also function as a target. Quoting many IT pros with more experience in this game than me, long term bets against Microsoft are not a good idea.
Should the gap between Microsoft and VMware lessen, my next prediction is set up nicely. That prediction is that the actual technologies in play become less important in favor of sophisticated management. The ability to fully support a virtualization environment will be a newfound priority as we go forward. Oddly, this is somewhat a restatement of some of our initial benefits of virtualization by abstracting hardware from operating systems. Full management (such as application to metal for virtualized environments) will come to light in 2012, I predict. In the end, it's not really about what specific technologies are used to get our jobs done, but what applications are in place to satisfy our stakeholders. The framework to get it all connected is the key.
Lastly, I think that the goal of being 100% virtual will take a back seat to reality. I'm convinced that we will always have the "bricks in the datacenter" that we can't virtualize. Sure, 100% virtualization would be nice, but I don't think it will be attainable to everyone, and we shouldn't stress ourselves trying to get there.
What do you see for 2012 in virtualization? Share your comments below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.