While yesterday afternoon I’ve been invited to talk at Cloud Communities Day hosted by EuroCloud Italia, and we had a really nice talk about Cloud Computing, Cloud Ops, and other such topics, the morning (and the weekend before), was altre fantastiche cose, il mattino (e il weekend che l’ha preceduto) could not have been more different.
Today is tuesday, and I just finished what is now a classic task: the virtualization of some physical servers. This time I even followed two customers at the same time, also converting a Windows SBS Server 2008, much more reliable than its predecessor 2003, but still a risky activity. Yesterday I simply had to check that customers were using the new virtual servers without problems, and most of all “show up” to cheer them up.
Obviously migrations went really well, by now these kind of activities are well documented and really reliable, but while I was attending the conference in the afternoon, I was thinking about how really there are two different worlds moving at totally different speed (Massimo Re Ferrè thinks there are 3 worlds).
For a large part of italian companies (and I think in other countries is no different), virtualization is still in its first phase: consolidation.
There is no talk about line of business, time to market, or even IT-as-a-Service. Everything is still driven by the need to save on budget by using the same hardware to run several servers, to save time (and thus money) by deploying a new servers in minutes, and a better backup policy thanks to the independence from underlying hardware. For all those customers, the first vMotion is still something that leaves people speachless, and all the things we know we can do with a virtualized environment appear as incredible advantages that they did not have until the day before.
Obviously, many application are virtualized “as is”, and they are always the same, more and more “Legacy” as time goes by, but at the same time terribly “CORE” for the companies using them. Let’s think about what I migrated this weekend: one of the server is a Windows 2003 running what I would cal a “CAD management server”, that is a software managing several CAD designers by sharing projects, components, designs. The software is up to date, but still uses a backend made with Oracle 9i (released in 2001) and only runs on Windows 2003 (a 10 years old operating system…). But this system is the core of the company, and until there is no way to move it to a much newer platform, is MANDATORY to keep it working.
In these situations, the customer is mainly looking for a really reliable infrastructure to take care of the lack of resiliance of the software. topics like autoscaling, cloudburst or the like are good for “coffee machines’ talks”, while the daily life is a Legacy system to take care of, and for probably a long time ahead.
I think about the “battle” for Public Cloud infrastructures, and how reading some articles VMware is now entering a market where it will have a dangerous competition. Well, even if it’s true, there are still a myriad of customers that only need a rock solid hypervisor for their applications. for sure Cloud will come, but probably not with the rate that Silicon Valley companies think.
Last, it would be interesting to see the statistics about VMware Converter downloads over the last 10 years. In my opinion, there is no downturn, and that would mean the world is still full of physical servers that could be migrated.