Vendors Who Dont’ Want to Be Virtualized?

October 24, 2008 – 5:18 am

Storage I/O trends

This past week I did a couple of keynote and round table discussions in Plano (Dallas) at Jaspers and in Boston at Smith and Wollensky with a theme of BC/DR for Virtualized environments. In both locations, where we had great participate involvement and discussions, audience members discussed the various merits and their experiences with server virtualization, and one of the many common themes was vendors whose do not support their vertical applications in virtualized environments.

Say it so Joe (or Jane), especially with so many vendors tripping over themselves to show how their software can be stuffed into a VM in order to jump on the VM bandwagon. How could it be so that some vendors dont’ want to be virtualized?

It’s true, there are some independent software vendors (ISV) whose vertical packages are commonly deployed in environments of all size who do not for various reasons want nor support their software running in a virtualized environment.

The reasons some vendors of vertical specific applications do not support their software in virtualized environments can vary from quality of service (QoS), performance, contention and response time or availability concerns, desire to continue selling physical servers and other hardware with their applications, to the desire to keep their application on a server platform that they can control the QoS by insuring that no other applications or changes are made to the server and associated operating system environment.

Yet another example can be that the vendor has simply not had a chance to test or, to test in various permutations and thus take the route of not supporting their solutions in a virtualized, or, what they may perceive as in a consolidated environment.

This is in no way a new trend as for decades vendors of vertical software have often take a stance of not allowing other applications to be installed on a server where their software is installed in order for them to maintain QoS and service level agreement (SLA) levels and support guarantees.

In some cases such as specialized applications including hospital patient care or related systems, this can make sense as well as perhaps complying with regulatory requirements. However there are plenty of other applications where vendors drag their feet or resist supporting virtualized environments without realizing that not all virtualized environments need to be consolidated. That is, a stepping stone or baby step can be to 1st install their software on a VM that has a dedicate physical machine (PM) to validate that their are no instabilities or QoS impacts of running in a VM.

After some period of time and comfort levels, then the application and its associated VM could be placed along side some other number of VMs in an incremental and methodical manner to determine what if any impacts occur.

The bottom line is this, not all applications and servers lend themselves to being consolidated for various reasons, however, many of those applications and servers can be virtualized to enable management transparency including facilitating movement to other servers during upgrades or maintenance as well as BC/DR (e.g. life beyond consolidation), a topic that I cover in more detail in my new book “The Green and Virtual Data Center” (Auerbach).

Likewise, there are some applications that truly for security, QoS, availability, politics, software or hardware dependencies or compatibility among other reasons that should be left alone for now. However there are also many applications where vendors need to re-think or look at why they do not support a virtualized server environment and better articulate those issues to their customers, or, start the testing and qualifications as well as put together best practices guides on how to deploy their applications into virtualized environments.

Thanks for all of those who ventured out this week in Plano and Boston and participating in the discussion, look forward to seeing and hearing from you again in the not so distant future.

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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