Virtually hopeless

I don’t know if that’s CIOs, or the press, or both. Recently Byte & Switch, CMP Technology’s zine on storage networking, published a chef d’oeuvre on troubles with virtualisation. Some amazing thoughts by the captains of the industry. Take this one:

Time is definitely a major concern of ours,” said Jim Steinmark, director of architecture and engineering at Fidelity Investments. “One of the big challenges is the time that it is taking to get people to accept virtualization as a production-ready technology,” added the exec, who uses VMware, Citrix, and SoftGrid within his infrastructure. For this reason, Steinmark estimates that it probably takes 40 to 50 percent longer to get an application deployed on virtual machines than it would on physical servers. A complex virtual application shared by a number of different users, he said, could easily take a year to deploy.

The whole idea and practice of virtualisation is to implement an efficient hardware abstraction layer. Applications don’t know and don’t care if they are running in a virtual machine. Even detecting virtual environment is not a trivial task. How it will increase implementation time at all is beyond me. Any clues? Here’s another product of disturbed minds:

Another attendee, George Scangas, lead IT infrastructure analyst at Welch’s Foods, warned that developers are often the hardest group to get on board. “A lot of them are from the old school of thinking — they want to run [applications] on a physical box,” he added.

If developers have concerns like that, they are thoroughly unprofessional (Mr. Scangas’s colleagues definitely are).You cannot develop application for a box with redundant power supplies and six cooler fans inside. With few exceptions (like device drivers, operating systems and virtual machine hypervisors) applications have requirements like certain operatins system, runtime libraries, disk space and available RAM – nothing that cannot be provided in a virtual environment. And if there’s somebody who’s hard to get onboard, that is not developers or system administrators.

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