VMWare Community Interview and QA

Virtualization Journey Q&A Podcast

Today I had a great Q&A session with members of the VMware community about the virtualization journey. The call was facilitated by John Troyer who runs our VMware community and it has been recorded here.

Lively exchange of ideas and great feedback!!

I covered the key elements that drive the adoption of virtualization technology and the three main stages of the journey, then we had a great discussion about adoption obstacles, sponsorship, and organizational structures.

A coupe of takeways


When I present our findings on the virtualization journey, there is often controversy around the Business Production phase. As a reminder, the business production phase is when customers virtualize mission critical business applications and databases. This is when IT operations work side by side with Application Owners (e.g. the person who is in charge of running SAP) to virtualize business applications. entering this stage is a critical inflection point as virtualization moves from being an effective tool to consolidate servers (and save power, space and money in the process) to a computing platform that provides better business continuity, disaster recovery and improved SAL (Service Level Agreement).

Some of the best practices that we heard people use to tackle this phase sparkle some very animated debates.

My favorite one is the following:

Best Practice #1:Publish a Roadmap

According to this best practice, when you virtualize business applications you should always tell the application owners and LOBs why you are doing it and what’s in there for them. Many customers do this. They publish a roadmap, they get the app owners comfortable, they execute, track results and share the success stories with other LOBs.

Best Practice #2: Don’t Tell Them

In this best practice, IT just does it. They virtualize business applications and they don’t tell the app owners. Their attitude is “they (LOB) should tell me how to run my infrastructure. I know this technology works and I just do it”.

We absolutely heard both practices applied successfully by different customers. When I bring this up people react violently to either #1 and #2 above. I believe it depends on their level of confidence (the more confident tend to just do it) and level of maturity. In any event, this controversy came up three times in three presentations I did on this at VMworld, with a delegation of CIOs yesterday here at VMware and today during the podcast.

I am just reporting what I heard from customers. Different strategies for different customers.

CIO-Level Sponsorship

The level of sponsorship for virtualization projects evolves over time from lower levels in IT all the way to the CIO at later stages. Today when talking about the Business Production phase, I mentioned that some IT organizations have to convince one application owner at the time about going virtual. Somebody in the audience was very vocal about the fact that companies should go through this phase with a mandate form the CIO in place. This provides the right air cover to address the skeptics objections and move forward swiftly. I could not agree more. The fact is thought that many customers don’t have that top level mandate at this stage and they consequently struggle.

This is an area of focus for us as a company going forward. More on this later.

Keep the feedback coming.



5 thoughts on “VMWare Community Interview and QA

  1. I enjoyed the podcast on Wednesday! I’m a customer in the UK and have setup and proof of concept machine, then a testing a first phase on roll out. We now have approximately 40% of the system virtualised and now after 2 and half years looks for start on a second stage. Our vmware current environment is ‘full’ and new hardware investments need to be made. As the approach 2 years ago was to virtualise all obvious candidates then this time round it’s a lot harder. Also the ROI is lower and therefore harder to justify to management.

    • What type of applications do you have in the roadmap? When you talk about lower ROI, are you referring to Capex savings? We found that people who move to the business production phase tracks different type of business value from virtualization project. It it typically more about business continuity and better SLA metrics.

      • Its the last push to virtulisation so the more ‘difficult’ servers in my environment seam to be DC’s, SQL, Exchange. As these servers are more hardware intensive the ROI is less.
        I do take your point on business continuity and SLA metrics but the saving are not real figures and theoretical. Personally being a VMware champion I can see these benefits as being very good but my CIO looks at bottom line; the cost saving of hardware, power and real estate.

  2. I have pretty much read all your blogs since I saw your youtube video yest. Very impressive insights into the virtualization domain coming from someone who has seen it from close quarters. Appreciate the work you have been doing.
    Madhu M

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