The Virtualization of the Enterprise: PART 2

Mar 06, 2015

virtualenterprise2

Making the Move

Unlike most things in IT, the barrier of entry for virtualizing your enterprise isn’t necessarily monetary. The typical perceived opponent of virtualizing the enterprise is ”It costs too much”; however this perception is rarely, if ever, true. In fact, the ability to pay as you go, coupled with the removal of expenses for hardware and software, leads to a lower initial investment and ultimately, a lower overall cost.

The biggest hurdle in virtualization is the identification of not only the right strategies and tools, but also those that are most effective. With the smorgasbord of services and applications offered today, it is not enough to just decide to virtualize your enterprise. The key to moving to virtualization is focus – truly understanding what your users need to operate more effectively. To get started, you have to identify what you are trying to accomplish, as well as what makes sense for your company – effectively defining what services and applications you need for your people to use anywhere.

To those workers who take advantage of a true virtual environment, the benefits are numerous. Virtualized applications are putting the power to collaborate back in your people’s hands. For example, Microsoft’s Office 365 delivers its services to almost any device that your people may have in their hands (laptop, tablet, or mobile phone…regardless of manufacturer). Office 365 delivers the entire Office and Outlook suites with support for up to five devices per user – giving your users the ability to be operational from almost anywhere, on a host of devices. By leveraging Office 365 and mobilized Line of Business applications with services, such as Azure, Amazon AWS, VMWare, Hyper-V, or XenDesktop, you can move to a truly virtual office.

What is Yet to Come

The important thing to remember is that virtualization of the enterprise capitalizes on emerging technology – meaning that the best is yet to come. With companies, such as Microsoft, changing their enterprise licensing agreements to include services like Office 365, the hybrid cloud looks to be a big thing in enterprise virtualization. The hybrid cloud is already here, and seamlessly teams together locally-hosted infrastructure with cloud-hosted solutions and local applications with hosted applications. The hybrid cloud serves more with less downtime, faster delivery and better operation.

The hybrid-cloud enables companies to get the best bang for their buck. Additionally, as more and more services and technologies emerge, security will improve, mobility will power “things” and analytics will drive decisions in the cloud.

Security

The next big thing in enterprise virtualization is security. Microvisor technologies are set to enhance security features for the enterprise by acting as the “weakest link.”

To understand the role of microvisor technology, you need to understand the nature of security breaches. In the past, servers have tended to be well defended from intruders, leading attackers to target end-users with spear-phishing attacks and malware designed to compromise their machines. Once an end-users’ machine is compromised, it can then be used as a platform to launch attacks against valuable servers, either inside the corporate network or in the cloud.

Compromised machines are inevitable, but microvisor-based security products isolate and destroy compromised machines in the virtual space, a.k.a. the cloud, by creating a micro virtual machine (microVM) to run each user task. Then when the task is completed, the microVM is destroyed: effectively eliminating any threat. Each microVM is isolated from the operating system and other machines, meaning that it doesn’t matter if a user opens an infected web page or document — the microVM is compromised.

What's Next For Virtualization: The Internet of Things

We all have heard the hype about the Internet of Things (IoT), and it is fair to say the future of business lies in the connected devices, or “things.” As the security of devices and sensors builds, the possibilities of IoT are limited only by the imagination. However, enterprise integration and storage seem to be the biggest hurdle for IoT and the enterprise.

IoT will be the next “no-brainer” for the enterprise because it is the culmination of wirelessly-connected devices creating insights and data where there was none before. The issue of data storage and management over an everywhere network is the only barrier of entry. But, by coupling the power of cloud storage and computing, the problem of “where will the data go?” is null-and-void, because the cloud and IoT are symbiotic.

Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible

As IoT and embedded systems increase data generation exponentially, vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise are taking the form of Big Data. As data is becoming the most valued resource within the enterprise, VP & Gartner Fellow David Cearley believes that, “every app now needs to be an analytic app.”

“Organizations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the IoT, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics need to become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere.”

Housing huge sets of data and applying machine learning that is advanced, pervasive and invisible will be dependent on cloud computing. But, for invisible analytic applications to take root, ideas about data insights will need to evolve into a state of mind that data is a “means” for discovery, not an end-all answer.

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