Think virtualization’s bullet-proof? Think again

Virtualization has been available to the IT world for more than four decades, yet it still hasn’t really taken off in the multi-system environment.

Many vendors are pushing this approach to deploying flexible technology, yet it still has not emerged beyond the glass house of the data centres or server closets. What are the reasons for this deployment stalemate?

Complexity: This technology is too complex for IT architects, and development and operations professionals to understand. They are used to developing systems that provide tangible functionality in a tangible way in environments that can be measured and managed. There are not many adequate tools to manage virtual and physical environments together.

Security: Whenever anyone says the environments are very flexible and unconstrained, I know there is going to be security and control problems.

Today, it is so difficult to keep the hatches battened down against security, compliance or confidentiality breaches in tightly controlled, rigid environments. All the senior IT executives that I work with are under the sword of Damocles to keep their organizations safe and sound.

Why would they want to move to this as-yet unproven technology that can potentially move their computing from the mainframes and servers to across their networks to all the desktops in their organization?

Don’t you think there will be some ramifications if a major chunk of confidential client data gets mixed into someone’s instant messaging or e-mail stream?

Unified communications:

A large part of this technology relies on unified communication systems. These are most often managed by telecoms without the full integration, bandwidth and hardening required for industrial-strength IT operations and consolidation of all the virtual resources across the organization. This represents a huge loss of control for IT.

While is true that there is great promise for virtualization, it’s time is still not quite here, except for data centre rationalization, storage farms and server consolidation.

The dream of running all resources in a big basket is not ready for primetime.

The underlying complexity and security management issues require better unified management, security and control technologies systems to make virtualization bullet-proof.

Enterprise customers really need something that can be taken for granted to make it feasible to run across their large operations.

Paul Rummell is a former federal CIO and an executive with InfoSys Technologies.

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