Editorial: Jumping into the virtual realm

Initially sold to customers as a server appliance replacement, virtualisation is quickly breaking out of its boxy cost and containment confines and becoming a key consideration across all manner of IT implementations.

ARN's Market Guide to virtualisation takes a look at how five industry players perceive the technology and their reasons for jumping aboard the virtualisation wagon. The list is an impressive one: HP for example, has pointed to virtualisation as a way of achieving a greener, more effi cient desktop footprint. EDS, meanwhile, is seeing the benefits of virtualisation technologies in helping organisations overcome data growth pains by allowing more scalable and less CPU-hungry storage. Virtualisation is also being touted as a way of ensuring more secure and independent environments in development and testing and for disaster recovery. So whether you're couching virtualisation in a green argument or as the way to control desktop standard operating environments more effectively, it's clear the technology will be an integral part of any infrastructure upgrade in the years to come.

And if the ever-increasing list of vendor giants making a virtualisation play is anything to go by, no one can afford to miss out on the opportunity.

In this guide we've included some selling tips and tricks to help channel players navigate the virtualisation path successfully. To add some real-life flavour, there's also a case study looking at how VMware's tools have helped keep the ANZ Stadium stay on top of its hospitality game with state-of-the-art POS systems and simplified infrastructure management and maintenance. There's also a swag of new software and hardware products showcasing the latest vendor advancements utilising virtualisation.

With such a diverse list of uses, it's no wonder many industry representatives are making virtualisation out to be the best thing since sliced bread. But, as some of our experts warn, the technology is not the be all and end all, nor is it always a way of cutting costs. Integrators need to analyse a customer's requirements, existing infrastructure and pain points and devise a comprehensive virtualisation management plan before pulling out the physical boxes.

After all, there's no point in just switching an operational issue from physical infrastructure to a virtual one. Having said that, perhaps virtualisation is the catalyst you and your customers need to get a grip on the business benefits of IT and change.

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