Mission Critical Applications Joining The Virtualization Party

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There was a time, just a few years ago, when the idea of putting databases, ERP, CRM and unified communications systems in virtual environments would've made IT administrators break out into a cold sweat. That's because virtualization was an intriguing but unproven concept at the time, and certainly not a technology one would stake their reputation on -- or their job, for that matter.

Things have changed a lot since then: Virtualization technology has made great performance and reliability strides, and barriers to virtualizing mission critical or tier one applications have finally begun to melt. The industry's fanatical embrace of cloud computing is accelerating this trend, since virtualization is a necessary component that paves the way for the next generation cloud data center.

"We're telling customers that the more you virtualize, the better it will be for you when you move to cloud," said Bobby Mulligan, director of online and cloud services at Champion Solutions Group. "At first, they're cautious, until they get the performance matching up to what production requires. After they see that, they're a lot more willing to adopt virtualization."

But there's still work to be done in getting organizations comfortable with the idea of moving vital applications from physical to virtual environments. VMware CEO Paul Maritz recently cited industry analyst predictions that 50 percent of workloads industry-wide will be running in virtual environments by the end of the year. And virtualization VARs are now scrambling to stake their claim in the remaining 50 percent.

While some of this business is flowing in due to market tides, VARs with the necessary skills are also going out and winning it. Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based solution provider, has built an entire practice around virtualization of tier one business applications.

Later this month at VMworld, Dan Weiss, CEO and co-founder of Varrow, will give a presentation outlining his company's approach to running workloads such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 11 and 10g in virtual environments.

Shane Vinup, president and CEO of Maple Grove, Minn.-based solution provider Cyber Advisors, estimates that 95 percent of his customer base has moved at least one mission critical application from physical to virtual environments.

"We deal with a lot of different verticals and it's been steadily happening in all of them over the last two to three years," he told CRN. "The only time we actually need to make the sale is when speaking to IT directors who've been around a while and maybe had a bad experience back in the day."

Next: How To Sell Virtualization Performance

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