Good management of datacenter virtualization is the key to cost savings and competitive advantage.
In 2012 there will be a new set of questions to ask about managing data center server virtualization. The reason? The impending release of Microsoft Windows Server 8. VMware's vSphere will have a significant challenger even for high value workloads when the next version of Hyper-V is released.
The emergence of a second hypervisor platform raises a question for IT managers: how to manage both VMware and Microsoft. Or Citrix. Or Red Hat. For some time, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) has been able to monitor both Windows servers running Hyper-V as well as VMware vSphere host systems. I first used SCVMM to manage a mixed Microsoft/VMware environment in 2009. So there is one obvious answer.
Another approach might be to use the built in tools provided with each virtualization platform to manage each platform. It's hard to see how the same staff could manage heterogeneous platforms in a cost-effective and cost-saving manner but it might be possible.
We might also see a resurgence of third party tools from the likes of CA and BMC. These companies have a history of making tools that can span multi-vendor environments. The task of unifying management of disparate, if similar, systems has often led to long running service engagements and brittle implementations that don't update well.
And so the other question that an advancing hypervisor market will like present is an amplification of the main theme of 2011: The Cloud.
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) providers might start to look more attractive to cost-conscious C-Level executives even as service levels and security questions linger. Thus, as hypervisor maturity gets set to drive greater product choice IT management decisions will determine if the infrastructure investment pays off.