Virtualisation across Varied IT Platforms: Setting the Stage for Cloud Computing Adoption

Apalak Ghosh, Manager, InfoTech

Apalak Ghosh, Manager, InfoTech

Virtualisation across Varied IT Platforms: Setting the Stage for Cloud Computing Adoption

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As IT departments are increasingly being asked to do more with less, virtualisation technologies offer a direct and tangible means of achieving operational efficiency and cost saving goals by aggregating disparate computing resources into shareable pools. The technology is rapidly being deployed in server, storage, networking, as well as client environments.

According to recent CMR research, based on interactions with key industry players and CIOs, virtualisation will be the single most important technology for IT departments and the highest-impact trend changing infrastructure and operations through 2012.

Business Issues
The biggest issue for CIOs is that of the proportion of IT spending and resources dedicated to maintenance activities, rather than adding new value to the organisation. This situation is compounded by the soiled approach taken to IT resource allocation and deployment within organisations, which in turn creates the conditions associated with underutilization of IT resources and inhibits the IT department’s ability to remain agile in its response to ever-changing business dynamics.

Technology Issues
Virtualisation encompasses networks, storage, applications, desktop, and data centres. By combining these technologies organisations can realise significant benefits, and transform their IT infrastructure from static to a dynamic resource that can help enable the business to meet its strategic goals.

Server virtualisation technologies operate by using one of three basic methods:

  • Emulation – making one resource imitate another resource.
  • Partitioning – making one large resource appear as many smaller resources.
  • Clustering – making many resources appear as one large resource.

Market Issues
The IT virtualisation product market is expanding rapidly in both reach and range. Storage virtualisation is reaching maturity, with standards agreed and leaders identified. However, the server virtualisation market is still in a state of flux.

Storage Virtualisation
It helps organisations to manage their storage resources more efficiently in order to achieve higher utilisation rates.

Desktop, or Presentation layer Virtualisation
This area has evolved from the thin-client technologies first introduced in the late 1990s, to the new, server-hosted, VDI solutions that provide most of the benefits of a traditional PC but with greatly reduced management and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) costs. However, the removal of desktops and/or laptop computers requires a significant cultural change, and so it will take some time before VDI becomes pervasive.

Application Virtualisation 
Application virtualisation is the practice of running software from a remote server rather than on the user’s computer. Dynamic link library (DLL) programs redirect all the virtualized application’s calls to the server’s file system. When software is run from the server in this manner, no changes are made to the local computer’s operating system (OS), file system or registry. Computing resources are allocated based on changing requirements in real time.

Service Oriented Architecture
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a methodology for systems development and integration where functionality is grouped around business processes and packaged as interoperable services. SOA also describes IT infrastructure, which allows different applications to exchange data with one another as they participate in business processes.

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