Virtual Machines as

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2007-08-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Resources"> Vizard: I guess Im asking that because it just strikes me that these are areas that Novell, historically, has had some strength in. So Im just curious about whether or not you see Novell playing a greater role in the application development rollout process or the security process, as it relates to virtualization.

Wagner: Absolutely. Novell, as you know, brings to bear 10-plus years of enterprise management in both identity and in systems and resource management. Its that unique combination where we can provide an identity-based infrastructure. So in this context, identities are not just human beings or passwords, theyre actually resources which can be virtual machines, physical machines, and apply the same dynamics of policy and role against that identity-based infrastructure to allow the automation technologies and the management technologies to be fully deployed, again driving at the business productivity result that we are after. So when you think about a dynamic IT infrastructure, what we want you to think about is reposing that into its identity components, right, the resources, applying roles and policies that will securely deploy those resources in the most automated fashion to drive business productivity. Novell, in our strategies, we plan to play a very strong role.

Vizard: When you add up all this stuff, what do you think is holding back the adoption of virtualization by order of, I guess Ill call it, ranking of hurdle? Is it in the lack of the management tools? Is it going to be a security issue? Is it the implications around the economics of what it does to peoples hardware buying cycles? What is the combination of things?

Wagner: I think you had put together 10 of them in a recent article, which I had a chance to look over. And I think you hit a lot of them on the head from the perspective we have. What we see holding people back is a few things: one, it is a complex environment, and virtualization is a single word that can mean many things in the IT infrastructure. So the complexity of it, itself, requires a bit of education. And anything that requires education is a bit slower to adopt than something thats already known. So theres this complexity and educational aspect. Then theres the fear of implementing something thats so dynamic into an infrastructure thats been so physical for so long. Ive been able to look at a box that runs my application and know whether or not its performing, versus Im looking at my IT infrastructure with workloads dynamically moving around. Its a bit more abstract and a bit more difficult to think about. An analogy I use is the difference between the pilot landing the plane and automation landing the plane. If you were sitting in the plane, what would make you more comfortable? A very similar thing is happening to the data center and the management of the data center. Those types of things are happening themselves, and then the lack of management tools that bring automation with audits, and compliance and risk management to bear, at the same time, are vastly maturing. So as those come and merge together, youll see adoption rates continue to climb.

Vizard: When you start thinking about that, one of the things I think I hear people saying all the time is theyre going to virtualize everything. And yet, when you look at it, maybe a fileserver lends itself more to virtualization than, say, a database does, because there are certain IO performance issues that will have to be tackled around virtualization. Is that correct?

Wagner: Oh, absolutely. Ive been in this industry 20-plus years and the industry cycles itself to an economic cycle of moving the bottleneck, as we call it. So today, you might have the bottleneck being my server processor, which, if I release that, becomes the server memory, if I release that, becomes the storage ability to respond to the server needs, if I release that, becomes the network. What virtualization does is it allows us to more dynamically move things around that environment. And as you were pointing out, puts pressure on the network infrastructure of the data center and even, depending upon how youre implementing, the LAN infrastructure and the WAN infrastructure, because some of the virtual machines can be very large images, 4-gigabyte images. You start moving those around the network, youre going to create a network bottleneck. So clearly, again, it depends on implementation, but the flexibility of moving workloads dynamically will move the bottleneck to the network.

Vizard: Are we just going to move that again as a bottleneck, or is there ever going to be this kind of perfect yin and yang IO balance between the advances at any given point?

Wagner: At least in my 20 years, weve constantly moved it. And some of them, Mike, are all moving at the same time, no question. But as you see certain companies grow very rapidly, its typically because there has been the need to exploit new capabilities within that particular area of the IT infrastructure stack. And at least in my 20 years of experience, we tend to, on a macro scale, move the bottleneck around the IT infrastructure. Even though were constantly trying to push on all edges of it, these new technologies that are very disruptive, the commoditization of hardware and operating systems software, impinging width, this new one, virtualization probably will move the macro bottleneck to how quickly we can move information around to the resources to dynamically respond to the business needs.

Vizard: What is your best advice to somebody listening to this podcast? Should I continue to pursue virtualization or should I just kind of wait for all these issues to shake themselves out?

Wagner: I would clearly implore users to take a look at virtualization. It is a technology that is not going away. Its a technology that will have multiple choices. It allows choice, as long as youre using virtualization technology that is deployed using open standards across the board, and will allow you to more effectively respond to users, and minimize the risk to your business through some of the disaster recovery things we spoke about. But what your users and your listeners need to pay close attention to is providing that enterprise management approach like Novell can offer to help with that implementation and assure that those business needs are met.

 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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