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From Enterprise to Cloud, Virtualization Today on SYS-CON.TV

Virtualization is set to fundamentally alter the manner in which businesses of all sizes implement IT overall

Virtualization has become a critical part of Enterprise IT strategy. Why and how has it become one of the most important change agents in our industry?

To answer these questions I had the good fortune recently to be able to speak to a select group of top IT industry executives who joined me in the 4th Floor Reuters TV Studio overlooking Times Square in New York City for a special SYS-CON.TV "Virtualization Power Panel."

The executives - Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens, Citrix CTO Simon Crosby, Egenera CTO Pete Manca, Allen Stewart, Group Manager of Windows Virtualization at Microsoft, and Brian Duckering, Sr. Director of Products and Alliances at Symantec - were energized about virtualization for a variety of reasons, not least because it has already proven itself (the recent woes of VMware notwithstanding) to be a multi-billion dollar business.

Virtualization itself is currently changing quite dramatically and as Crosby (pictured left) said right the beginning of the recording: "The good news is that there is enough there to keep us all employed as long as we want to keep working - in terms of changing IT and making it more efficient, more dynamic, and more streamlined."

The change that Crosby was alluding to is not just the extension of virtualization beyond server consolidation to a more general role as a coupling mechanism between various levels of the IT stack - such as servers and OSes, apps and OSes - but also to the move by the industry itself beyond being a "one-company" technology, namely VMware.

"Virtualization is about to become a part of everything that we do," said Citrix's Crosby, adding:

"Virtualization as it is in most IT people's heads today is a thing called VMware. But that is about to change."

Virtualization is becoming a part of the infrastructure. As Red Hat's Brian Stevens (pictured right) explained: "It is actually all too visible right now, we are trying to manage virtualization as a discrete element, producing products that don't interoperate."

"From enterprise to Cloud, the need for virtualization is pretty broad-based," Stevens added, and interoperability is in his view the surest way ahead.

Egenera's Pete Manca also feels that virtualizing the I/O, the HA - the "next wave" of virtualization if you will - is where the real future challenges lie. "Once the server, I/O, data, and applications are virtualized, the resulting possibilities and opportunities really are endless. These cornerstones open the market for management, security, converged fabrics, and a whole host of technologies that can free up the data center and open new markets," Manca noted.

View SYS-CON.TV's very latest Virtualization Power Panel Live from Times Square here.

The business drivers of this second phase of virtualization will be not so much server consolidation and the Green IT approach, two of the main drivers to date, as "service enablement," observed Microsoft's Stewart - a service-oriented approach allowing rapid provisioning of chunks of IT functionality.

IT exists to serve users, and virtualization certainly allows you to abstract and commoditize elements of IT, agreed Symantec's Duckering, which in turn makes it possible to present IT users with a virtualized endpoint such as a Virtual Desktop. And Crosby underlined this with a remarkable statistic: Citrix, he noted, "basically is endpoint application delivery for 100 million users." Thanks to Citrix's partnership with Microsoft it is on over a million servers, he added.

But if you prefer to explore virtualization face-to-face, then San Jose, California, is where you need to be November 19-21, 2008 - where you will encounter the brightest and the best minds in Enterprise IT at the 4th International Virtualization Conference & Expo being held at The Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

It is co-located with the high-energy Cloud Computing Expo, so you'll get extra bang for your bucks if you choose to register and attend, since you'll be able to find out first-hand why Merrill Lynch is estimating that 12% of the worldwide software market will start using cloud technology in the next 5 years.

View SYS-CON.TV's very latest Virtualization Power Panel Live from Times Square here.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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