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Moving Toward “Virtual Convergence”

Most IT managers would agree that virtualization - in all its various forms - is a disruptive force that is permanently changing the IT landscape. Due in large part to its growing deployment on servers, virtualization is now affecting all major resources and functions in the data center.

In fact, virtualization is driving a convergence - of sorts - of servers, networks and storage. We don't mean literally, of course, at least not in the short term. But virtualization is forcing organizations to take a more holistic view of their overall IT infrastructures, both physical and virtual. This trend is widespread - it transcends industry boundaries and is affecting IT teams of all shapes and sizes. And the impact ranges from painful to blissful, sometimes in equal doses.

The impact goes beyond just data center resources, directly affecting IT managers, tools and technologies as well. As we talk to end users, we see the "convergence movement" manifesting itself in multiple dimensions.

The first of these is in IT organizational roles and practices. Virtualization has led to conflicts in IT organizations over the roles and responsibilities of previously segregated teams. The introduction of the virtual server administrator has helped to blur organizational lines, both between physical and virtual server teams, and between server and storage domains. Where does the "virtual" infrastructure end and its "physical" counterpart begin? And for that matter, how can a virtual server administrator properly do her job without some insight into networked storage, and vice versa? Companies are increasingly finding that you cannot effectively manage one IT component without visibility into, if not at least some responsibility for, the functioning of related domains.

A recent Taneja Group survey found that to address these issues, companies are creating new leadership roles that span servers and storage as well as physical and virtual platforms. These include mid-tier to senior level positions such as Directors of Infrastructure, Infrastructure Architects and the like whose responsibility typically includes management and/or oversight of physical and virtual servers, networks and storage. Such IT managers are given the responsibility and authority to bring together planning and administrative efforts for these diverse IT elements and ensure that they work together smoothly.

Next week, we'll look at the impact of virtual convergence on IT tools and technologies, including some new products and planning approaches that IT managers can adopt to make convergence work in their favor.

  • Premiered: 07/24/09
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
Topic(s): Server Virtualization virtual infrastructures Virtualization


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