Well, my guest view for SDTimes went live yesterday or today. You have all heard the story from me before - Approach Virtualization and every other buzzword du jour with a bit of skepticism. Generally speaking, buzzwords get that way because there's a very useful application behind them - notable exceptions being NAC (Network Access Control) and ILM (Information Lifecycle Management), but those two had useful bits, they were just industry-sponsored umbrella buzzwords for a whole lot of stuff.

Server Virtualization yields great benefits early on when you're merging servers that don't use much in the way of resources and have a dedicated bit of hardware associated with them. I would even say rush into that usage scenario. After that the question becomes much more fuzzy. Some organizations virtualize everything and claim it makes them more adaptable. Make a business case for every server you virtualize. Does it save you money? How much? Does it save you resources? Enough resources to warrant the added expense of the Virtualization?

NAS virtualization is a different beastie. You either need it or you don't, and once it's in there is no sense in not using it for everything you can - it simplifies desktop configs - particularly changes to desktop configs - and facilitates shortening the backup window if it is used extensively. It's the "do I need it?" question you have to answer, and like most technological questions, that answer isn't easy with the huge range of different businesses and architectures out there. The key drivers for NAS Virtualization are pretty straight-forward though. If you have a ton of NAS filers/servers, move a lot of desktops from place to place on your NAS boxes, you have NAS servers/filers constantly short of disk space, or your backup window is huge, NAS Virtualization can help. There may be other clear-cut uses, but those are the key drivers for most enterprise IT shops.

Application Virtualization is great if you've got a heavily used application, but certainly not necessary for the internal app used by five guys in accounting, and a bit of overkill for the fantasy football league run by your R&D Group (Shout out to Matt at Integrys).

Like most buzzwords, I'm a huge fan of using Virtualization intelligently, it can reap great benefits for your organization. I'm not a huge fan of virtualization just because it is a buzzword.

Of course, I wrote this in my virtual office, virtually on time, and it came out a virtual masterpiece... Now I'm buzzword compliant, right?

Don.

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