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Virtualisation rides a new wave

Brian Karlovsky | April 17, 2014
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.

However, he said the opportunities were endless for VARs wanting to be seen as a true business partner delivering services that add value and flexibility with a minimal accretive outlay.

"With these new virtualisation technologies the ability for businesses and users to 'self serve' their own IT outcomes building the platforms to support this agility is where opportunity lies."

Oracle senior principal product director, infrastructure software, Doan Nguyen, said as more workloads were virtualised, the demand to connect those VMs to a range of networks and storage systems also increased.

"The consolidation of servers and workloads - to improve the overall utilisation of server resources - is a growing trend that is pushing us toward the next virtualisation boom," he said.

"The result can be systems with a spaghetti mess of cables and interfaces on the back panel and networking configurations can remain tied to the physical network and storage, which can limit the resource sharing of the virtual systems. This is where IO virtualisation comes in, and whether it's software-defined networking [SDN] or storage virtualisation, each can help customers unlock the next wave of virtual environments."

Capitalise on trend

Nguyen said the shift in virtualisation from compute would open up new opportunities for resellers. "Resellers can capitalise on this trend by focusing on the impact that the virtual networking and storage will have on the operational lifecycle of the datacentre," he said.

"Products and services helping to address network and storage capacity sizing, including deployment services of virtual storage and networking, are opportunities for further monetisation."

Microsoft modern datacentre product manager, Wendy Smith, said storage virtualisation provided huge opportunity for cost reduction as organisations could use commodity hardware for low cost storage. "Simultaneously, network virtualisation is effectively the key to Cloud computing, connecting across datacentres and Clouds. Previously, the pendulum of storage had swung far towards centralised storage [NASs and SANs].

"Today, it's starting to come back closer to the centre, with more credible options for customers to take advantage of, such as Cloud storage, and commodity hardware," she said. "However, the reality is that storage is growing at such a monumental rate that there is plenty of opportunity for everybody." Smith said the place where partners were to make their money had shifted. "The opportunity for the partner is moving to a more consultative approach, adding more value to the offering rather than just delivering a product," she said.

Wave of opportunity

Avnet vice-president and general manager A/NZ, Darren Adams, said network virtualisation would decouple traditional networking and storage from hardware.

"There will be much less focus on the underlying technology with more emphasis on solutions that manage the environment using software," he said. "I wouldn't say we are heading towards the next "virtualisation boom" but rather another wave of opportunity for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure [VDI]."


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