by Bernard Golden

Virtualization for Dummies

Mar 03, 20083 mins
Enterprise Applications

I’m very pleased to share the news that Dummies Press has just published my latest book, “Virtualization for Dummies.” Written in the well-regarded Dummies style, this book provides an easy intro to one of today’s hottest IT topics.

Important topics in the book:

  • Overview of virtualization applications and technologies
  • Choosing hardware for your virtualization project
  • Managing a virtualization project
  • Future directions for virtualization

Also included are three hands-on chapters on installing and using virtualization featuring VMware Server, Fedora Xen, and XenSource XenExpress. All three provide the opportunity to begin exploring virtualization at no charge, because each is available for free download.

I wrote the book because I view virtualization as very complementary to open source, not only because of the obvious connection that a number of virtualization solutions are available as open source, but for a more significant reason. Both virtualization and open source represent the trend of enormous reduction in the cost of IT foundational technologies. To my mind, this represents the most significant issue IT faces today: the shift from high-cost, vendor-centered technology offerings to low-cost, user-centered technology offerings, with all that entails.

Among the implications of this new low-cost world:

  • Less vendor education in the form of marketing and pre-sales activities. Impact: more need for IT organizations to develop internal expertise or identify outside providers of technical knowledge.
  • Confusion in the SI sector as established players attempt to see how they can create economically sustainable practices while preventing conflict with established partners. Impact: IT shops need to identify new service providers who wholeheartedly embrace the new technology approaches; more bluntly, find new providers who can deliver value without larding fees on top of mega-licensing fees.
  • Enormous growth in the opportunity to create IT-powered business offerings. As foundational technologies get cheaper, more systems can surpass the hurdle rate of return. Impact: more opportunity for IT organizations to walk the walk of what they talk about — partnering with business units to focus on business value; stronger project management processes to cope with increased number of IT projects; greater need for robust enterprise architecture programs to facilitate “snap-in” of increased number of cheaper applications.

I really enjoyed writing the book and found the process confirmed what I intuited before beginning it: virtualization is sweeping through IT infrastructures and is poised to transform IT practices. In five to ten years, we’ll look back on pre-virtualized IT practices the way we look back on operator-assisted long-distance calls — the relic of an age in which such practices made sense, but thank goodness we’ve progressed beyond them.