Opinion

Concealed prospects

But many solution providers are finding even more opportunities in virtualisation come from two separate, but decidedly complementary, technologies: storage and security.

 

A recent white paper I read suggested that storage-centric solution providers who add server virtualisation to their practices are likely to find that they need new ways to implement and deploy storage infrastructures to virtual server environments. Those environments can, in turn, enhance such areas as data replication and disaster recovery with server virtualisation.

 

As a solution provider in the Middle East with a strong security background, what are you finding? Are security issues related to virtual servers as similar as they are different in regards to physical servers? In either case, are you as a solution provider in the Middle East benefiting from a whole new set of service opportunities that are arising in the server virtualisation space?

 

Although there are no straight answers, storage and virtual server technologies are starting to feed each other. What is true though is that as more clients add server virtualisation, their storage needs ramp up quick. And although storage complexity drives server virtualisation, it’s vital for solution providers to grasp that as they help their clients to consolidate their storage, to also show them how their physical servers are underutilised.

 

While much has been made about the negative impact server virtualisation has had on physical server sales, less noticed is the negative impact it is starting to have on the building of SAN fabrics. Not only that, but server virtualisation is also changing the staffing requirements of most enterprise and mid-sized companies, as much of an IT infrastructure’s routine tasks become more automated in a virtualised server environment.

 

What this means for end-user customers is that they will need more highly skilled people with server migration and related storage expertise, and fewer people to handle routine tasks. This is where savvy solution providers that have invested in skills, training and certification should come in.

 

That said, implementing server virtualisation means several new challenges for solution providers in the Middle East. For instance, because virtual servers are running during the backup process, they have to be dealt with as if they are open files in the same way that open databases are handled.

 

When it comes to security, virtualised servers are in many ways similar to physical servers, with each individual virtual or physical server requiring processor time, memory, I/O and an operating system to run an application that does not care on which type of server it is found.

 

Yet, the differences are broad enough to spur a debate between those who say that virtual servers primarily need the same type of protection tools as any physical server.

 

With security being an important part of any data centre or IT infrastructure, do virtual environments need protection? Off course they do as they need to have perimeter security to protect against external attacks, and an inside perimeter to protect against internal threats.

 

In many ways, securing virtual servers is not very different from securing physical ones. At the end of the day, they are just machines running on the same server OS.

Don’t miss the storage management feature that will touch on server virtualisation in the September edition of the magazine.

 

As I would like to engage with you more on many other topics of interest to your solution provider business in the region do write to me at manda@cpidubai.com

 

Server virtualisation is becoming a huge opportunity for solution providers using the technology to help customers consolidate their server infrastructures, cut power consumption and heat generation, and ease data centre management. The quest to be ?green? compliant has taken on a whole new meaning now than in the past especially in the Middle East region.

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