Telecom Lead India: While the cloud currently dominates
data center discussions, another significant IT transformation is taking place.
Driven by shrinking capital budgets, data center managers are looking to
optimize their existing infrastructure, and maximize the investments already
made. And increasingly, this is being achieved through virtualization.
Virtualization – the decoupling of application software and
operating systems from the underlying server hardware – is at the heart of the
cloud business model. It enables physical server resources (processor and
memory) to be dynamically allocated among multiple applications (i.e.
workloads), even those from different tenants – a necessary factor for economic
delivery of shared cloud services. Without virtualization, cloud providers
could not afford to offer capacity on demand, in increments as short as an hour
at a time.
The same factors appealing to cloud providers are also
attractive to enterprise data center managers. Virtualization enables
enterprises to squeeze more utility from their server hardware. It extends
server life, reduces capital investment in new hardware, and adds flexibility
to the IT environment. As a result, virtualization is rapidly gaining a
foothold in enterprise data centers.
Through the completion of recent research studies, Frost
& Sullivan has observed the investment choices and priorities across a
broad range of data center challenges, not only those related directly to cloud
computing. These investment options have shifted from the traditional
investment in managed services offering to the server and desktop virtualized
Key players leading these virtualized product offerings
are Business Connexion, T-Systems and Dimension Data. Frost & Sullivan
believe the key benefits associated with virtualized offerings within a data
center environment are cost avoidance, application mobility and ease of
The standard configuration of servers can be remarkably
inefficient. With a single app per server, generally configured for peak load,
the average server utilizes only 30 percent of its processor capacity. Despite
the excess capacity in traditional data centers, each new application receives
a new server, incurring capital costs for the server itself and increased
operating costs for power and cooling, as well as labor for server
configuration and on-going maintenance. Virtualization is the solution to
expand capacity at minimal cost, by maximizing the use of existing resources.
The enterprise can avoid or defer the purchase of new servers and equipment;
and when new servers are required, they can purchase higher capacity servers at
a proportionally lower cost than multiple smaller servers. At the same time,
virtualization saves energy costs; and, by decreasing the overall footprint,
avoids or defers build out of the data center.
Virtualization can assist the business in achieving its
goals for high availability, always on” applications. VMs encapsulate
applications with the associated configuration instructions, resulting in a
single object that can be moved around as easily as a Windows file. This makes
it extremely easy to implement business continuity plans. Because the
hypervisor largely masks the differences between server models and
types – eliminating the need for server-specific configurations – the VMs can
easily transition among the entire stable of a company’s old and new servers.
Ease of Implementation
In traditional data centers, IT departments are too often
cast as the villains whose slow pace obstructs business growth. When another
department (e.g., marketing or product development) identifies a need for an
application, it can take months for IT to work through the necessary processes
before the app can launch – from capital budget approvals to equipment purchase
to implementation and testing. In contrast, a VM can be built in a matter of
hours or even less.
Frost & Sullivan expects virtualized offerings to
overtake the uptake of managed services as companies look to move over their
data center offerings into this environment.
Chantel Lindeman, head of Information and Communication
Technologies at Frost & Sullivan