Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: Veeam

Doug Hazelman (Profile)
Friday, January 11th 2013

2012 was the year virtualization became mainstream, with more than half of all workstreams taking place in a virtual environment. It’s a tipping point for virtualization and a sign of market and technological maturity. As a result, as more IT organizations virtualize even more of their infrastructure, 2013 will bring some very interesting developments for IT and the hypervisor market in general, because, now that there are multiple hypervisors capable of meeting the needs of enterprise environments, it begs an interesting question for 2013: will hypervisor coexistence finally become commonplace?

The answer is a most unsatisfying “yes and no.” Coexistence in 2013 won’t mean parallel hypervisor environments running in most main data centers, but instead will arise in specific use cases and circumstances.

One such specific use case would be for remote and branch offices. These offices often have a minimal IT infrastructure, with only one, or sometimes no IT administrator at all. In these offices it may make more sense to deploy a different hypervisor than the one running in the main data center, especially if it’s only going to support a few key applications.

Likewise, for organizations that have numerous IT silos, unique application deployments, or specific needs for a particular business unit, the deployment of a different hypervisor may be more appealing to local administrators. For instance, the organization may run on one hypervisor in the primary data center, but for a VDI deployment, the relatively autonomous desktop group may want to run something different. In other cases, adding another hypervisor may make more sense from a feature, functionality or cost perspective, and, because the IT organization is siloed, admins in these departments have the flexibility to deploy a different solution.

Finally, while there will be instances in which entire organizations are running two hypervisors in parallel, these situations will most likely occur when organizations are migrating from one primary hypervisor to another. With the majority work streams running in the virtual environment, these types of changeovers will most definitely not take place overnight. As a result, IT will need to manage two different virtual environments side by side for a period of time.

The maturation of virtualization also has implications for the SMB: virtualization is bringing functionality within reach that was previously exclusive to the enterprise due to complexity, high cost, or both. SMBs are already taking advantage of replication to offsite disaster recovery locations, automatic recoverability testing of backups, and near CDP. As virtualization technology continues to advance, expect to see SMBs taking advantage of additional functions that today are “enterprise-only.”

For both the enterprise and SMB, the continued maturation of virtualization will mean IT admins will pay more attention to how well tools and apps work within the virtual environment than they will to how they play in the physical environment. Virtualization has become primary, and physical more of a niche. Of course, that’s not to say that physical is unimportant, but this shift in emphasis will have enormous implications for administrators, developers and solution providers. Virtual, not physical, capabilities have become table stakes, and are no longer just nice-to-have features.

2012 was a big year for virtualization as it finally vaulted over physical to become the dominant IT infrastructure. 2013 will be the year that both IT admins and the market in general come to grips with what that titanic shift really means and the impact it will have.