Is virtualization cheaper?

What does virtualization mean anyway?

“[Virtualization is] a technique for hiding the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way in which other systems, applications, or end users interact with those resources. This includes making a single physical resource (such as a server, an operating system, an application, or storage device) appear to function as multiple logical resources; or it can include making multiple physical resources (such as storage devices or servers) appear as a single logical resource.”

I had a conversation with a buddy of mine who works in the financial industry and is looking at some directory virtualization software. After listening to the benefits of the software I asked a simple question – ” is virtualization cheaper than what you are doing now?” At first it looks like it is, but that may be marketing ROI’s and not based on the real world. It seems that there is a lot of expense involved in buying the software, migrating data, and managing another layer on your storage network. But, is it any less expensive then running your old storage as an archive, the old stuff is usually already paid for. Are virtualization vendors adding complexity to your already tangled network infrastructure? How much is it going to cost to remove the virtualized layers of obfuscation when ‘Simplificaton’ becomes the hyped buzzword in the industry press.

What ever happened to keeping things simple? When has complexity ever been cheaper to install, run and maintain for the long term ? When has complexity ever simplified debuging anything? How long will these Virtualization engines be supported? How do you untangle your Data if they go away or you change vendors?

Sounds like Virtualization really is a way of locking you in for the long term to a chosen vendor.

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