Long-deferred vendor visions of agile data centers are finally coming true now that VMware virtualization with VMotion live migration has severed the ties that kept services fixed to x86 hardware. Unfortunately, some vendors are trying to stage a revival with an inferior substitute for live migration. Most notably, Microsoft is claiming that their "Quick Migration" feature is comparable to VMware VMotion and adequate for enterprise data centers, even though Quick Migration is not true live migration. We've even heard Microsoft tell audiences that our customers don't trust VMotion enough for production use. Don't fall for it -- VMotion is ready, proven and in heavy use today by VMware customers who are bringing true flexibility and agility to their IT operations.
Do you remember the many grand visions for IT that were trotted out by the vendors and analysts during the dot com boom times? Adaptive Enterprise Computing, Next Generation Data Centers, Organic IT, On-demand Computing, Utility Computing and more were relentlessly pitched to CIOs with PowerPoint promises of continuously available services effortlessly floating on pools of servers and storage, finding the resources they needed all by themselves and magically recovering from any faults and disasters that should arise. CIOs put up with the daydreaming until the vendors were finally shamed into backing off on the hard sell by their noticeable inability to deliver on the promises. The technology, especially in the x86 world, just could not break the bonds that kept applications and services firmly welded to their physical hosts.
The phenomenal growth of virtualization is now reviving some of those grand IT visions. With a virtualization layer that includes live migration, x86 workloads can float free of the fixed servers and storage hardware that enterprises have in place. And, thanks to tools like VMware VMotion that live migrates servers between hosts and VMware Storage VMotion that allows transparent relocation of a VM's storage, those workloads finally can accomplish that floating without the slightest interruption to users and services. It’s not just VMware that is enabling this revolution-in-waiting; the Xen vendors are also starting to roll out their own live migration support.
It should not be surprising then, that Microsoft is using its entry into the virtualization market to bring its own grand architecture – the dormant “Dynamic Systems Initiative” – out of hibernation. Now apparently renamed as “Dynamic IT,” their vision was featured in Bob Muglia's January 21 V-day missive to hundreds of thousand of Microsoft customers and partners. In laying out the benefits of virtualization and live migration, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves:
VMware, Microsoft, VMotion, Virtualization, Architecture