Government Technology
By Carl Drescher: Technology trends and their impacts on the provision of government services.

Virtually Virtual...

October 9, 2008 By

For those of us who have been around long enough to remember the days when the mainframe - or "big iron" was the only real platform that serious business applications ran on, virtualization of system resources was the norm. Each application ran in its own "machine" and more system resources could be added as needed. This provided an efficient use of system resources when hardware costs were quite large as compared to today. Application software vendors supported their applications running in these virtual machine environments without question.


Fast forward to the present. Over the last few years the concept of virtualization has taken hold in PC based servers. Most organizations - such as mine - have implemented or have a strategy to implement this technology as a natural efficient use of the computing resources, as a way to better manage these systems, and to battle data center issues such as power consumption and data center cooling. Unfortunately our experience with the software vendors has not been one of support in terms of their applications running as a production system in these virtual environments. I am assured that this will be changing over time with the introduction of Microsoft's virtual solution and software vendor experience in this virtual world. In the mean time we hear statements like: "Well you can run your test and training in those environments, but we will not support your production in that environment", or " why would you want to incur the cost of training staff and capital costs of that hardware? Individual servers are inexpensive." When I have tried to place the requirement of supporting virtualization in as part of our RFP language I am told that such a requirement is too restrictive and that I am eliminating vendors who otherwise can provide adequate solutions.


I am curious if anyone has been successful in getting software vendors to fully support virtualization in a PC server environment. What specifications or requirements were listed as part of the purchasing or contract process?  Am I the only one seeing this?


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In the Trenches
Carl Drescher

One of the constants regarding technology is that it is constantly changing. New technologies have the potential to change the way communities are governed. This blog will discuss some of these technological trends and how they are advancing government at all levels.

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