Many organizations have found that virtualizing the IT function frees them to focus more resources on revenue-generating activities. However, managing risks of an increasingly virtualized computing environment requires executives to be up to speed with the latest in managed services.
There is tremendous increase in the number of specialized tools available to aid businesses in a virtual computing environment. These tools can remove much of the day-to-day work associated with servers such as monitoring, administration, provisioning, availability enhancement and capacity planning. The major reason for this trend is the huge potential of virtualized environments in reducing costs - for example, 67% reduction in total cost of ownership of IT operations after an implementation by VMware. Companies considering such cost saving models also have several expense models to choose from, such as pay-per-use, pay-per-IT-resource etc. All these point towards how the specialized tools address the much cited problem of "lack of visibility".
Often, these managed services delivered through a virtualized environment are web-based, and the entire process is referred to as "cloud computing". The latest trend in the cloud computing arena is the emergence of proprietary clouds, and companies that are large enough and technologically proficient to move from cloud computing on the Internet to proprietary clouds. Along with this move, the risks, costs, and responsibilities are also getting transferred, says Deirdre Woods, Associate Dean and Chief Information Officer at Wharton. The associated risks will not get eliminated despite the presence of built-in risk management mechanisms. And there is the additional challenge of drilling down through several layers of operating systems to locate the problem, if one arises. Such challenges require greater problem-solving skills than those that would suffice in a physical machine-only environment. It is such significant changes in skill sets and mentality of people that will define the future of cloud computing.
In this thought paper, produced by Knowledge @ Wharton - the online business journal of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Wipro Technologies, the discussion is around the ever-increasing pursuit of virtualization that businesses are engaged in.