What will be the next after the server virtualization with any hypervisor in the market today? Everyone may has a different thought about it when they went through the journey with different experiences. VMware are very focus on the future of cloud and we also notice there are more cloud providers in the market to provide the cloud services to everyone around the world. But it does not convince enough for the enterprise environment to go for public or hybrid cloud at the moment. Private cloud are always considerable for most enterprise environment.

Is virtualization meant everything? Virtualization is not, but it had played the important role in the entire journey. Everyone may had faced different challenges during or after the server virtualization in the data center. The next thing which prompt up after server virtualization will often be I/O virtualization and utility computing model. I/O had become real challenges as server virtualization had increased the total bandwidth require to be allocated per physical servers which may easily contains 30 virtual machines in 1 single server. At the mean time, we often see the FC, ISCSI and NAS are seperated with the Ethernet LAN in data center.  Can we do it better? my answer is Definitely. Plenty of solutions today such as Xsigo or Cisco Nexus are really ready to address the challenges that everyone is facing today through Infiniband or FCoE.

FCoE had become an open standard as Qlogic, Emulex, Brocade and Cisco are officially supported today. Do we require to have multiple SAN cablings and Ethernet gigabits connected to each physical server? I will say Yes or No. For 90% of the environment, it should be the right thing to combine both FC and Ethernet into 1. I/O consolidation allowed everyone to simplify the data center environment and improve the bandwidth per connection from 1Gbps to 10Gbps for Ethernet and FC both. It help us to virtualize and simplify the I/O management within the data center.

Leave the technology away now, and look at the operation structure. How do we benefit from virtualization or private cloud computing? Virtualization had made a big move for many environments to go for the private cloud computing model. As my personal experience and the proven success in the past, the biggest benefit I had experienced was the way it transform the IT Services delivery. It had allowed everyone to work closely and demonstrated a better team work and understanding to delivery the right infrastructure for the business needs. Back to the traditional situation, the virtualization implementation team will have to deal with storage team, server team, application team, DBA, Network folks and others IT personnel within the organization, which require a long journey to kick off the virtualization project. We always noticed that for each individual functional team will have different standards, opinions and road maps for specified technology. We understood that standardization is always important, but it will require to further fine tune when it come to the virtualization, cloud computing and data center transformation era.

The collabration within each IT functional team had been improved due to the virtualization and cloud computing.  Everyone started to learn or understand about both virtualization and cloud computing. Infrastructures and solutions build today are always collaborate and align within different functional team to achieve the company goal. Is there a threat for server, network and storage guys due to virtualization and cloud computing? I will say NO, but it does help to improve the relation within the team and allow them to learn from each others. A pure networking background IT folk had known more about storage and servers technology because virtualization.

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This picture had explained the relationship within the IT solutions. With the changes happen today, it allow IT to do more with less. It does simplify the IT infrastructure  and improve the services delivery.

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This picture is a good reference which allow us to understand where are we now.