Friday, June 12, 2009

Enlightened - Virtual Reality

Many write about the myths, facts, and fiction of virtualization. Some espouse that it is a revolution that is sure to take over the current desktop and server paradigm. This week I was blessed to spend time getting a good solid dose of reality from the only view that really counts - the architects and engineers that use technology every day to solve real world problems.

As vendors we can learn far more by spending a couple of days with key users of products to determine what the next best steps are, where the market is really going and what matters most to the ones that use our products and sign the checks. In this hardened economy - it is time that we start to listen more and hype less.

Virtualization is a tool like other technology that will add benefit and unplanned complexity to current processes, systems, and workers. It is not until technologist solve real world solutions that the paradigm will really start to shift.

Routes to Virtual Reality

1) Start with a problem - like a problem application that has compatability issues, needs to support a legacy version of .Net or Java, etc. From the problem - determine which virtualization applies (Server, Desktop, or Application)

2) Cut the the Chase - Understand EXACTLY what is being sold. There are many different types of architectures and solutions that are often overshadowed by marketing fluff. Know the different types, pros and cons of each approach, true costs and then decide.

For example there are 3 different distinct application virtualization architectures:
  • Agent Based - Agent connected directly into the OS kernal
  • Individual Bubble Base - Agent embedded into the virtual application
  • Hybrid - Virtual Agent that lives in memory and manages the virtual bubbles

3) Don't believe the hype - there is a lot of misinformation because of the "hype" around virtualization, cloud computing and the market in general.

  • Application virtualization is NOT running an application inside a virtual machine. It IS isolating the application from the underly OS just as machine virtualization isolates the OS from the Hardware.
  • Desktops and Servers are vastly different. Servers are many users to a single system while desktops are single users to single applications. Each have unique requirements and require a different approach.
  • Evolution not Revolution. This is not the time to support the rip and replace approach. The physical tools, paradigms etc will be alive and kicking for quite some time - customers want a single pane of glass - not multiple agents, interfaces, and added complexity that will increase the work load of already overstretched IT Staff.
  • Hybrid is the ONLY way to go - Hardware & Network can't dictate business continuity- Desktop users are highly mobile and will have little patience or time to deal with large downloads, increased network costs, or not being able to do their job due to technology failure. User based targetting is key to addressing the mounting challenges, regulations and risks facing IT today.

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