Virtualization transforming IT management

The "big shift" is that IT management is no longer confined to physical hardware but also the virtual.

Virtualization -- which enables IT departments to run multiple systems and applications in just one machine -- is dynamically transforming the way IT resources are managed in enterprises. The "big shift" is that IT management is no longer confined to physical hardware but also the virtual.

"The key is to have the ability to manage both the physical and the virtual," said Bill Hiff, Microsoft general manager for Windows Server and Platform Strategy, in a recent media roundtable. He said organizations, and the IT departments in particular, must have a well-planned strategy in implementing virtualization to fully realize its benefits.

Hiff, who oversees Microsoft's virtualization technologies, was in the Philippines in line with Microsoft's regular business review of its operations in the Southeast Asia region.

Hiff noted the growing adoption of virtualization in the region as companies focus on cost savings and higher efficiency. "With virtualization, companies actually have fewer resources and physical assets to manage. Therefore, there are fewer costs associated with managing that infrastructure. As a result, it's much easier to move systems around, much easier to be dynamic and agile to respond to the business," he said.

Some of the ways that virtualization can drive efficiency includes faster application testing and seamless deployment for end-user applications. It also enables organizations to streamline communications, automate processes, and allow employees to access information and applications anytime and anywhere.

Virtualization also allows IT departments cut data center costs by reducing the number of physical machines. "Right there, you automatically save on power and cooling costs," Hiff noted.

The promise of significant cost and higher efficiency is what is drawing many of Microsoft's Philippine customers to virtualization.

Nicky Eala, server business group lead at Microsoft Philippines, said that virtualization is attracting not only its bigger corporate clients but also the medium businesses. He observed local companies that are moving for virtualization are considering it in line with server consolidation, application virtualization, and terminal services deployment.

Microsoft expects more Philippine companies to adopt virtualization as it announced the availability of the Microsoft virtualization software in the country. Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and the new Microsoft Hyper V Server 2008 will soon be available as well.

The company says that the Windows Server 2008 Hyper- V, a featured hypervisor-based virtualization technology in select versions of Windows Server 2008, offers customers a reliable, scalable and high performance virtualization platform that plugs into customers' existing IT infrastructures and enables them to consolidate demanding workloads. The Microsoft System Center suite provides a single set of integrated tools to manage physical and virtual resources.

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