Some major trends in today’s virtualization space

There are three important trends taking place that I believe are positive for IT in the long run, although they will create angst and change in the meantime.

Heavier focus on the management layer

Abstraction has resulted in an emerging focus on the data center management layer and new ways of thinking about data center hardware, particularly as cloud becomes a more compelling opportunity. As the hypervisor begins to become more commoditized, there exists an opportunity for the management layer to become the dominant force in the data center, particularly as the market moves closer to the letter and the spirit of “software definition.

Convergence with scale out

In the hyperconverged space, currently occupied by Nutanix, Simplivity, and Pivot3, there is great opportunity for a new kind of data center focused on low cost to entry and granular – but linear scaling opportunities.  The kinds of devices carry the following characteristics:

  • Very granula
  • Purpose built using commodity hardwar
  • Almost always takes hybrid approach to storag
  • Complete infrastructure (minus networking
  • Need more power?  Add a uni
  • Emerging differentiation for easier expansion targetin
  • Very low cost of entry

Solid state storage

Solid state storage has hit the market in a big way, but not all solid storage is created the same.  Here are the three primary methods by which solid state storage is typically leveraged:

  • Server side.  The flash storage stays close to the server through the use of a PCI-e expansion card of SAS/SATA local disk.  This storage can be levered as a very fast caching mechanism or can be used to place volumes itself
  • All flash arrays.  All flash arrays are the performance monsters of the data center, but are expensive due to the need to buy all flash drives. In addition, these kinds of arrays do not enjoy the same capacity benefits as other kinds of storage since SSDs do not have the same capacity as traditional hard drives
  • Hybrid storage arrays.  Hybrid storage arrays from companies such as Nibmle, Tegile, and Tintri.  They balance the IOPS and capacity needs for anything that is throw their way by combining SSDs and legacy hard drives into an array with high capacity and IOS

Of course, only time will tell how all of this pans out, and there are a lot of other trends that are taking and that will take place, but today, these seem like three significant ones.

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