The next virtualisation boom is in the mail as we move to a world of ubiquitous availability of information. That's according to some experts in the channel who are predicting a "virtualisation explosion" as companies look to virtualise network and storage, managing every piece of physical equipment in the datacentre through a virtual software layer.
This next wave of virtualisation follows IBM's virtualisation of the mainframe in 1972 and, of course, VMware's rapid rise following its virtualisation of the x86 architecture.
VMware sees a $US50 billion opportunity and hopes to take its annual revenues to upwards of $10 billion in the next 10 years after posting revenues of $US5.21 billion in 2013.
The channel will be central to giving the network virtualisation revolution scale. It also has the potential to disrupt the storage landscape with converged infrastructure.
However, this new complex environment requires resellers, system integrators and independent software vendors to understand the full complement of the virtualisation stack, while taking a services and solutions focused approach.
EMC director of technology A/NZ, Matt Zwolenski, said server virtualisation was just the beginning of the software-defined era and this same concept was now being extended as far as the router and the disk drive.
"We are heading into a virtualisation explosion or, more importantly, what we call the software-defined enterprise, where every piece of physical equipment in the datacentre, from the server to the network to storage, is managed and controlled by a virtual software layer," he said.
"As a system integrator there is the opportunity to help customers architect a new software-defined strategy. As we saw with the advent of the 'VMware administrator', the next wave of IT roles will come in the form of the 'software-defined datacentre administrator'."
Zwolenski said integrators were starting to think about how they could consult customers on building the virtual network and virtual storage layers as part of a holistic strategy for the enterprise. "For everyone playing in the software-defined space, there is a great opportunity to educate customers about the benefits of creating an end-to-end datacentre solution," he said.
Anittel CTO, Rob Pickering, said network virtualisation meant businesses would not need to be concerned with what the underlying infrastructure was, but more about the business requirements to be fulfilled. "The promise of this abstraction from hardware is that VARs can offer services that can fulfil business requirements more quickly and with less effort than before, which presents both challenges and opportunities," he said.
"The main challenge is the moving of business models to support this consumption-based, business-driven approach that organisations require now and away from the moving of 'tin' and one-off services. This will see a decrease in one-off service revenue for VARs and SIs, but if positioned correctly should support a move to a recurring based revenue or 'as-a-service' type offerings."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.