Virtualization's Yin And Yang - InformationWeek

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5/20/2008
02:47 PM
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Virtualization's Yin And Yang

EMC doesn't like it if you suggest virtualization might not be worth the hassle.

EMC doesn't like it if you suggest virtualization might not be worth the hassle.My hat's off to EMC for creating an ideal business model. The company will sell you virtualization technology, and then sell you a slew of products to manage the problems that virtualization creates.

Six executives leapt to the defense of virtualization when I asked whether the technology was really worth it because it seems to cause as many problems as it solves. I asked the question during a panel discussion at EMC World, in which EMC heavyweights assembled to take reporters' questions.

With more than a hint of sarcasm in his voice, Rich Napolitano, senior VP of EMC's storage division, said something like "You cracked the code. We build products to create new problems so we can sell you the solution."

But they do. Just before the panel, EMC talked up the new release of Application Discovery Manager (ADM) 6.0. It's an agentless technology that maps which applications are running on which servers and provides configuration details to help IT with change management and app availability.

ADM 6.0 taps into VMware Virtual Switch to get configuration and application info on virtual machines. It's a logical addition to the technology, but it was developed because virtual environments are notoriously difficult to manage.

EMC also announced an upgrade to the IT Compliance Analyzer to provide more control over virtual environments and help ensure that VMs meet compliance requirements. Again, more evidence that virtual data centers cause pain.

I understand that virtualization offers incredible benefits, from server consolidation to ease of deployment to simplified load management and disaster recovery. And the potential benefits of desktop virtualization may even be greater than in the data center.

But everything with great benefit usually comes with significant drawbacks. I'm not saying EMC hasn't acknowledged this conundrum. After my question one of the panelists said that every wave of computing introduces new challenges.

I'm also not saying that EMC has a sinister plan to make virtualization difficult or complex to sell more product. I do want to make sure vendors acknowledge the inherent complexities of this technology.

Of course, EMC will have the last laugh. It's the clever companies that profit from both the opportunities and the drawbacks.

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