Eric Lundquist

Five virtualization trends to watch

By Eric Lundquist
February 03, 2009 1:26 PM EST

The economy might be sputtering and cell phone companies stuttering, but in IT the world is going virtual.

1. Memory virtualization. What a good idea! Instead of always running around stuffing servers with more and more memory, how about making memory a shared virtual resource? RNA Networks in Oregon has the lead here, as the company describes the, "Memory Virtualization Platform works by pooling or aggregating available memory across nodes, and making the memory pool available as a shared network resource available to all servers in the data center.  Servers can access the pool, contribute to it or both." I'm looking forward to hearing from some early users to see if the memory virtualization platform actually works as described.

2. Open source virtualization. The latest entrant is Virtual Computer's NxTOP. This company is based in Westford, MA and takes what the company claims are the four basic componets of the personal computer ( hardware, operating system, applications, and user data), virtualizes those components and allows an IT manager to manage all the systems on the network instead of dealing with each system as a distinct entity. Good idea, I'd like to see a demo.

3. Mega routers. The matchup of Cisco and Juniper in the network virtualization space will be fun to watch. Recently Cisco has been rumored to be reading some computer competition by developing server virtualization, but it shouldn't take its eye off of Juniper which is talking up big network virtualization products to handle the increased multimedia traffic flowing over the networks. Networkworld calls it a mega router, which is a name that I think will stick. 

4. Virtual I/O. Again, in the "Why didn't I think of that?" category. Xsigo Systems virtualizes server I/O to keep systems administrators from going crazy trying to keep track of all the interconnects that quickly overrun most server rooms. 

5. Virtual Systems Management.This topic along with virtualization security and licensing tends to get overlooked. It shouldn't.Canadian-based CiRBA has some interesting virtualizaition management products. 

I'm looking for some additional companies and virtualization trends to watch.