By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
I'm always interested in what industry leaders expect to happen 12 to 18 months out, particularly after a couple of unsteady years such as we've just experienced. I stumbled upon this interesting blog by Andi Mann, VP of virtualization product marketing for CA Technologies. Based on his 20 years of IT experience, Mann has thrown out seven virtualization trends to watch for this year in his blog, including:
Mann was gracious enough to spend some time chatting with me about his predictions and how continued interest in virtualization provides opportunity in the cloud. "There is huge opportunity for the channel to get the skills and become experts in virtualization, and then help these organizations that want to take advantage of virtualization do it correctly," says Mann. He explains that issues such as virtual stall are less about technology and more about people — those that don't understand the technology, those who are threatened by it, and organizations simply lacking in the manpower to tackle virtualization. "One thing the channel excels at is adding value through people, so they can offset issues such as virtual stall because the biggest barrier is lack of skill and lack of time. Not only can the channel provide bodies to do the work, it can also provide the best practices, skills, and time to document the potential scenarios and truly plan out the deployment of this technology."
Mann advises channel businesses interested in virtualization to take certifications seriously, not only to build technology knowledge around virtualization but also to built creditability and authority with customers. "You need to come into an organization as the established authority to break deadlocks, work across silos and handle interdepartmental issues," says Mann.
Beyond helping with virtual stall, the channel can also help with automation, which Mann expects to be the hottest topic in virtualization. Why? "Most CIOs are still working with budgets that remain flat, or even down. Meanwhile virtualization deployments require more skills, more people, faster cycle times, and fewer errors to be successful, so automation is the only way to deal with this conflict, accelerate virtualization, and build an efficient, cost-effective, dynamic data center," explains Mann. Plus, he adds, it is essential to cloud computing, which is driving a renewed interest in virtualization all around. "So many organization have been promised the magic of virtualization, but they still need support of automation, and that is an opportunity for VARs."
Lastly, Mann suggests that the channel get comfortable with heterogeneous virtualization deployments, and adds that he expects both the channel and those vendors deeply invested in virtualization will have to be willing to work across product lines. "We are always better off having a limited number of vendor partners, but not just one," says Mann. "Virtualization is no different, and it is so broad that by its nature you will need to work with virtual storage, virtual networks, virtual desktops. That means our partners and vendors will have to work together to cross those silos." Solutions providers serious about virtualization solutions will be forced to build expertise that allows them to handle heterogeneous virtualized environments.