No doubt about it, virtualization is hot. It seems that you can't read an IT publication without some mention of it. And, for good reason. For a long time, organizations have been forced to contend with brittle, heterogeneous infrastructure and software that's expensive to acquire and maintain. Aside from the high cost, the gating factor it has placed on dynamic adjustment to changing business needs have made traditional IT design painful for IT departments and frustrating for the business folks.

Virtualization provides a nice alternative for more dynamic, cost-effective, and nimble architectures. At F5, we've been "virtualizing" servers from the network for a long time dating way back to load balancing. One (Big) IP address fronting any number of backend webservers. We've taken it much further with things like iControl, the industry's first network SOAP/XML interface which makes it easy to wire applications to instruct the network device (using protocols developers appreciate) to change automatically as needed. And, when you enter really cool things like intelligent storage virtualization, the F5 Acopia ARX product line offers a better, more nimble approach to file and storage virtualization.

Combine a range of products that enable network and storage virtualization with stories we're hearing (more frequently today than ever) about how customers are using iControl and iRules to work with virtualization software like VMware's ESX and it's only natural to create a place to discuss this on DevCentral. While many vendors offer virtualization software, VMware is clearly the industry leader, what we hear about the most today, and a logical place to start.

So, we're excited to introduce the DevCentral "F5/VMware Solutions Forum". Here's your chance to post your questions, share ideas, and debate with your community peers how best to harness this popular combination of technologies. Take a look, get involved, and let us know what you think.

And - if you're not sure what all of this is about, here are some interesting documents and media that will help shed some light on virtualization.