VM density per host has hit a plateau and is now is trending down, reasons are expected to be based on maturity of practices in virtualization, and a cap on application requirements stressing the virtual environment. Also, conservative scaling of VMs per host as organizations feel out their comfort zones with the workload per host was suggested by an audience member as the reasoning from their shop.
The trend of tier one apps being virtualized is a huge and growing number of customers reporting that they've virtualized core business applications in production, the key application tipping point was noted as being when SQL servers started to be moved to the virtual environment en-masse. SQL Server 2008 is the single most virtualized Tier 1 app, and Oracle is the least. Interesting that those are the bookends of this trend. The question was raised how much the data was skewed by SQL server sprawl, and it was acknowledged that it may be in part, but in fact getting to a maturity level of having the hosts virtualized helps us as IT managers be in a position to consolidate DB servers.
A discussion took place in the room about the challenges of dealing with an environment with a dependency on Oracle but a desire to virtualize. It seemed to come down to the most common reason people aren't virtualizing Oracle apps, is the complexity of the licensing model from Oracle making us want to just leave it alone.
Conversation wandered a bit further and the discussion touched on the footprint growth taking place when organizations move from Windows 2003 to 2008, which seems to be an increase in memory and storage needs to support the same number of hosts, largely because of how the memory handling architecture has changed to a more block oriented concept.
Next area that the discussion trended to in the room was about how the organizations represented have had a top down virtualization requirement set in their organizations, where any new server requested is by default virtual unless a business case can be made otherwise.
Eventually the discussion stalled out with someone starting a semantic debate with the presenter over how best to gather the data. The presenter showed some great skills in putting the discussion aside and focussing back on the relevant topics.
Most used features of vSphere used today are HA followed by Distributed Resource Scheduling and storage vMotion. Interestingly, the fault tolerance feature is one of the least used, and this is attributed in the room to the maturity, functionality, and reliability of the feature. Network and storage IO control are the two least used features. This conversation led me to think that each manager responsible for this solution should walkthrough the vmWare infrastructure with their admins and understand which features they are using today and why.
An interesting Gartner quote is that virtualization was the most discussed infrastructure topic in the past, but has been superseded by discussions around cloud computing. This to me seems a natural evolution of the same topic, but it's important that your organization top to bottom understands that.
HP, IBM, then Dell are noted as the top three platforms for building vmWare on. Noted that 2x and 4x quad core are the CPU configurations with the largest installed base in the customers surveyed. Now interesting to managers, the vm to admin ratio has been growing, and the number today seems to be at 288 VMs per admin as of q1'11.
Latest findings indicated adoption of vSphere 4.x is at 62%+
Plans for vmWare are around better levels of controls in the virtual environment to increase operational efficiency, understanding that the vm to admin ratio is growing, and a development in the ability to manage your compute resources to SLAs via policies in the virtual cloud infrastructure. The speaker regretfully noted that he has not been provided material to share anything further with us, as an announcement on roadmap is pending within two months.
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Location:Las Vegas, NV