Desktop Virtualization Desktop virtualization also is something that data center managers are anxious to take a look at. Proponents of the technology talk about the impact desktop virtualization can have in reducing capital and operational expenses by reducing the number of physical systems they'll need, and making desktop management and security easier.While there are a host of options out there for IT professionals to choose from, most are looking at either VMware's offerings or Citrix's XenDesktop. Data center managers also are looking at hardware that they hope will save them money on power, cooling and capital expenses. According to Gill, Intel's upcoming eight-core "Nehalem EX" processor-for servers with four or more sockets-is high on the list of what IT professionals want. The chip, which is due out in early 2010, offers such features as Turbo Boost-which can crank up the speed of individual cores as workloads demand-Hyper Threading and QuickPath high-speed interconnect technology. The chip, which Intel officials say will help OEMs build x86-based servers that will challenge the larger RISC- and EPIC-based systems, will offer greater performance and energy efficiency, all of which will help drive down costs. They also will help with server consolidation projects. On surveys, Gill said IT professionals also are expressing interest in trying out Cisco Systems' UCS (Unified Computing System), an all-in-one converged data center offering that integrates blade servers, networking products and management software from Cisco, along with storage from EMC and virtualization technology from VMware. The Cisco offering promises to reduce operating expenses by 30 percent, a large figure for any data center, he said. However, even though many data center administrators say they want to try UCS out-particularly after seeing it run many of the operations at the VMworld 2009 show in September-where it's getting the most interest is in greenfield environments, such as new data centers, he said. "They're saying, -I'm unlikely to deploy blade servers from Cisco in the next six months,' but they are excited about it," Gill said. Cisco is one of a number of major OEMs-with others including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM-looking to offer converged data center solutions, with the idea that more tightly integrated offerings could lead to reduced operating expenses. Data center administrators also are looking at storage options-including IBM's XIV enterprise storage system-and networking as ways to consolidate resources and save money. For Mohawk's Jensen, that would be lossless FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet). "While FCoE is now an approved standard, lossless Ethernet is not," Jensen said. "I'm not confident that using just FCoE at this time for high I/O servers connected to the SAN would be reliable. If lossless was approved and reliable, then further consolidation of servers and networks could occur along with simplified cabling in the data center." He also is looking for ways to reduce power and cooling costs, including a cost-effective way to measure power usage at the rack level, and "a closed-loop water cooling system for each rack in buildings that don't have a chiller conveniently installed." Gill said operating system changes also are high on the wish lists. Data center administrators want to upgrade to Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 and Red Hat's Enterprise Linux 5.4, both of which bring greater virtualization capabilities. A growing number of IT professionals also are looking to migrate from Unix to Linux, particularly customers of Sun Microsystems' Solaris OS who might be concerned about the impending acquisition by Oracle. Businesses that in the past might have considered using Solaris x86 are now doing so as a bridge to Linux, Gill said.
"What people really expect to deploy in 2010-at least in pilots-is virtualized desktops," he said.