Another of Bittman's strategic planning assumptions for the next five years: The installed base of VMs will grow more than tenfold between 2007 and 2011. And by 2012, the majority of x86 server workloads will be running in a VM.
"It is the most important and impact [-causing] trend in infrastructure and operations through 2012-changing how you manage, how [and] what you buy, how you deploy, how you plan, how you charge. It also shakes up the industry, in terms of licensing, pricing and component management," Bittman said.
Virtualization, however, is merely an enabler to some other important future trends, he said. Because virtualization creates a pool of manageable, flexible capacity, automation should take that pool of resources and do useful work, based on business policies and service-level requirements.
Also, the decoupling created by virtualization combined with defined service offerings and automation is a great enabler of cloud computing, Bittman said.
Five Years Out-in Bullet Points
Bittman laid out the following eight bullet points that describe the nature of computing and storage virtualization over the next five years:
-Virtualization is a change agent, not just a tool for consolidation purposes.
-It requires planning and vision, and managers need to be proactive with it.
-It must be managed closely to guard against virtual machine sprawl.
-It requires close alignment between the IT shop and the enterprise, or your IT effort may be wasted.
-Pricing and licensing are in a quandary now, but enterprises and vendors will adjust over time.
-Beware of nervous hardware and software vendors who may use lock-in tactics to sell big boxes and support a "grand vision" hype.
-Sourcing of services in the cloud will become more granular and dynamic, thanks largely to faster applications enabled by virtualized data centers.
-We are now entering an era of experimentation with virtualization, as vendors try out new ways of delivery, development, and pricing and licensing.
Lastly, Bittman closed the session with some words of wisdom: "When it comes to running a data center and making all these decisions, be a scientist-not a subject."