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Beyond virtualization: What’s next for your datacenter?

Written contribution by Andrew Wahl


Periods of transition in the technology industry are always fascinating. As IT organizations evolve, they face important decisions about which vendors and technologies will best support their goals and long-term strategy over the next five or 10 years and beyond, and that can lead to interesting shifts.


We are at one of these critical turning points now. The era of virtualization adoption is drawing to a close, with most IT organizations nearing the end of their journey transitioning into virtualized environments, which changes the game for virtualization vendors.


20130922_HpLondon_EntWindow_001.pngOf course, VMware has long been a vendor of choice. In fact, leading industry analyst Peter ffoulkes has described in a 451 Research report, that VMware had been a pioneer in the market with good technology, at a time when the use of virtualization was not easy, and so organizations stayed with them to keep it as simple as possible.


But now much of the virtualization market is beginning to commoditize. Alternatives, like Microsoft Hyper-V, are now gaining ground, either because organizations are ready to move to a more heterogeneous environment, or because they want to strengthen their negotiating position for the next enterprise licensing agreement they will sign.



To quote ffoulkes during a recent coffee talk session, spending is “flattening in that base sort of virtualization hypervisor area. It’s not going to be the moneymaker [for VMware] going forward that it has been historically.” As a result, VMware has to “move into markets beyond the base layer, which are typically the management of a modern datacenter, and the platforms upon which you’d build a cloud architecture.”



Shifting focus for heterogeneity

IT organizations are similarly shifting their focus away from virtualization and into aspects of datacenter management and automation, with a view to private and public cloud infrastructure. Although ffoulkes has noted that only 20% of enterprises have some cloud platform in use today, with another 31% planning to do something for the first time in the next couple of years, decisions are being made now with a vision about how they will orchestrate the datacenter across heterogeneous physical, virtual and cloud environments.


20130201_RS_FACTORY_017P3601.jpgOne example is task automation, which is a critical requirement when delivering cost effective and high quality IT services within a more complex environment. Automating basic infrastructure elements — servers, networks, storage and databases — is necessary to achieve greater efficiency. However, organizations are also seeking efficiency within the stack itself, by automating from infrastructure to application. For this reason, it has become important to work toward automated provisioning bare metal and virtual servers, with patching across the stack.


Such automation and orchestration across physical, virtual and eventually cloud(s) is naturally leading both IT organizations and vendors to adopt heterogeneous, multi-vendor approaches and embrace Chef and OpenStack (as HP has), as well as support legacy systems like IBM AIX and Oracle Solaris. Read up on HP’s point of view of an Orchestrated Datacenter.



See you soon at VMWorld 2014 - Booth #1005

As in past years, there will be a lot of interest in what the company announces and discusses at their annual VMWorld conference in San Francisco this August. For its part, VMware CEO Patrick Gelsinger is espousing a new, more heterogeneous strategy, where the company has talked about integrating with OpenStack as a framework, but ffoulkes says that for now it seems that “it [VMware] feels the best way to deliver it is on VMware technology… so once again we have to see really how open that becomes, and how that plays out.”


HP, of course, has long been committed to integrating with a wide range of tools and infrastructure for better automation and orchestration. Get caught up on how you can arm yourself with new insights about managing change in your dynamic data center. Download this toolkit today. Following which, come visit us at our solution site and see us in action at the HP Booth #1005.


You can also weigh in with your views in our new HP Automation and Cloud Management Community. A place where you can share your thoughts and ideas, and see what others are saying about IT automation and cloud management. Your voice deserves to be heard by a community that matters, and where practitioners go to be heard. 


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