The Virtualization Practice
2011 Winners and Losers in Virtualization Management

The management ecosystem for virtualization started to transform significantly in 2011, driven by VMware’s new management strategy and management offerings. The big four are now boxed into an untenable position with expensive software that is hard to buy and hard to deploy. In 2012 there will be aggressive partnering in the ecosystem as vendors try to compete with the VMware suite by integrating with other vendors who have adjacent functionality.

The speed that technology changes are absolutely amazing in that as soon as you buy something, the next faster, bigger model comes out. I think back to around when I started my career and remember a workstation that I was using with a 200MHz processor and I was really thrilled when I got it bumped up to 64MB of ram. Now although the hardware was changing at blazing speeds you used to know you had a three to five year run with the operating system before you had to worry about upgrading and refreshing the operating systems. VMware has been changing the rules the last few years on major releases coming around every two years.

2011 saw an increase in virtualized and cloud data protection solution partnerships and advancements. One of the biggest advancements is the growing support for Microsoft Hyper-V from long-time VMware specific backup solutions. Included in the new partnerships are team ups between performance management and data protection solutions, as well as an increase in the methods for replication and other forms of data protection. 2011 was a very big year in the Data Protection arena of cloud and virtualization. This is the 2011 Year in Review for data protection.

Of all the vendors in the hosted desktop space, Citrix has been delivering desktop virtualisation solutions the longest. As such, perhaps they are the most aware that an enterprise desktop strategy isn’t about delivering a single solution. A solution needs to be flexible enough to present a variety of services to a range of devices. This isn’t just about having different client support, but about delivering applications and data either to different environments: secure and insecure, managed and unmanaged, fat and thin.

The “cloud” has become quite the buzz word and in all appearances truly loved by the marketing side of the fence also. “Take it to the cloud.” That is one of my favorite lines from a Microsoft commercial campaign that I think really shows how mainstream the cloud has become. Facebook, iTunes, Twitter, Oxygen, Amazon and Acronis are all examples of different cloud services that I connect to on a regular basis. Services for the end users are becoming more and more abundant, which is absolutely fantastic for us, the consumer.

VMware has had a great 2011. Product execution was excellent on all fronts except for VMware View where there are also larger strategy issues afoot. VMware is and likely will remain next year not only the most important, but the best system software vendor on the planet. We can only look forward to continued progress with vSphere, the management offerings, and the applications platform offerings.

2011 saw a shift in how virtualization security was viewed and it showed in the way companies teamed up to address those needs. Even so, the most basic of issues still exist: The thought that once you virtualize you are more secure, and the lack of general protection for the management constructs of a virtual or hybrid environment. These two concepts have hindered adoption of virtualization security in 2011. Even so, there has been a steady shift through out the year as more and more companies talk about virtualization security. VMware has definitely lead the pack with its vShield Product line and its unified view of virtualization security. Other hypervisor vendors are also discussing virtualization security through their ecosystem if not directly. 2011 saw many companies forging their own partnerships to augment and compete in this space. Will these partnerships continue into 2012? Will virtualization security continue to be a hot area?

The countdown clock for the end of life of windows XP (the most successful operating system of all time) is running; enterprise IT is having to adjust to multiple disruptive trends that will stress it as never before, mobility, security, smart phones, tablets, BYOD, the cloud, even Apple has found a foothold in the enterprise. Budgets are tight, unemployment is high, mistakes cannot be afforded. This is the 2011 Year in Review for Desktop Virtualization.