Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Thinking Out Loud: It's Not Just the Technology

I had a quick thought this morning while browsing this post by Lori MacVittie. She, in turn, was referring back to a post published on VMBlog.com about a virtualization prediction that 2010 would be the year that the network becomes fluid and virtual. (As a side note, the original article on VMBlog.com appears to be primarily a marketing exercise for a company that purports to help make the network fluid and virtual.)

Lori’s post, titled “A Fluid Network is the Result of Collaboration Not Virtualization,” clearly disagrees with the original VMBlog.com post and states that there’s more to creating a fluid network than just virtualization:

The network will become fluid—I absolutely agree—but that metamorphosis will not [happen] solely because of virtualization.

At first, I thought the post was about how organizations needed more than just technology to create an efficient, fluid, dynamic infrastructure; the title says “Collaboration Not Virtualization.” And it is—sort of. Really, Lori is focusing on the “collaboration of infrastructure through integration based on standards-based control planes.”

OK, I’ll agree with her that integration of infrastructure is required to bring about the fluidity that is the “Holy Grail” of data centers. But here’s my thought: what about the human factor? What about operations? What about processes and procedures? I’ve seen so many companies virtualize their infrastructure and fail to see the huge benefits they thought they would reap. Why? Because it was “status quo”: keep doing the backups the way you’ve always done it, keep patching the machines the way you’ve always done it, keep managing the OS instances—yes, you guessed it—the way you’ve always done it. Sure, virtualization is great in that you can keep these processes and procedures the same during and after consolidation through virtualization. But in my opinion, organizations will see a much larger impact if they pay close attention to the processes and procedures. By optimizing their processes and procedures for virtualization, organizations can take advantage of all that virtualization has to offer.

So what do you think? Do organizations really need to optimize their operations for virtualization? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so sound off in the comments. Thanks!

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