Virtualization 2.0 On The Way: Cloud Expo

Not that virtualization as we know it is all washed up, but at Cloud Expo in New York on Monday one cloud executive highlighted a new model he's dubbed "virtualization 2.0."

Pete Malcolm, CEO of cloud management vendor Abiquo, said a host of problems plague current virtualization methods, inhibiting how organizations do business and hampering the true value of virtualization technologies. The issues are plenty, including virtual machine sprawl, high provisioning efforts, poor capacity planning and utilization, security and compliance issues and vendor lock-in.

Malcolm said IT organizations are struggling to "keep their hands around the infrastructure."

Virtualization 2.0, Malcolm said, will quash the missteps of its virtual predecessor, heralding a new era. Through management solutions from Abiquo and the creation of a new top-down strategy for cloud management, more efficiency can be achieved in virtualization and the cloud, he said.

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The main tenant of virtualization 2.0 is the "complete separation" between the physical infrastructure and the virtual world, Malcolm said. The two are separated by a "resource cloud."

The physical infrastructure is then controlled by the IT infrastructure organization, which contributes resources to the resource cloud. Meanwhile, virtual enterprises, which contain virtual data centers, virtual machines and virtual appliances, consume the resource cloud.

Those virtual enterprises, which are managed by the IT infrastructure organization, will operate within limits regarding CPU usage, storage amounts, memory and connectivity and other parameters and the virtual enterprise can provision its own resources within those set limits. Additionally, the deployment is decided according to workload policies, which dictate how and where virtual machines are distributed among the infrastructure.

Next: The Role Of Policies

The virtual machines are deployed automatically according to policy and neither the virtual enterprise administrator nor the users of the resource cloud know where virtual machines are deployed, nor do they care as long as policies are adhered to. Such policies could include rules that tell the system "don't try to run this workload on a server that has insufficient capacity on the wrong hypervisor" or "this application is so sensitive it can only run in a local data center." The policies also dictate when and under what circumstances physical resources will be used.

That virtual 2.0 environment is "more fluid" than private cloud computing environments, Malcolm said. Malcolm boiled it down this way: Virtualization 2.0 is fostered by separation, delegated authority and allocation. And within those three tenants are multi-tenancy, private, public and shared image libraries and workload policies.

Ultimately, he said, this new method can reduce the IT infrastructure load by eliminating the focus on physical infrastructure, reducing deployment risks and removing the disconnected management of virtual infrastructure. Additionally, true capacity planning can become a reality, Malcolm said.

Virtualization 2.0 also increases agility, as on-demand virtual machines can be deployed in seconds and temporary projects can be launched and evaluated more swiftly.

Malcolm said this future model opens the door to managed service and hosting providers, who can sell virtual enterprises and bill according to resources consumed or allocated, or an MSP can sell the resources.