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By: Mark Gaydos

While I was at the Gartner IT Operations and Management conference this week in Orlando, I spoke to a particular industry analyst. This analyst suggested that in a very short time frame, as virtualization gains even greater adoption, that the role of the virtualization administrator will actually disappear. That as virtualization becomes “virtually” ubiquitous that the need for a dedicated individual to handle virtualization security and management will disappear, as every group will have responsibility for managing the parts of virtualization in their respective areas.

The networking group will need to manage virtualization in their environment. Operations will have to work with virtualization in the areas they are responsible. Security will need to be involved with virtualization with the processes they manage. That every group in IT will have to know the parts of virtualization that touch their areas of responsibility. It will just become part of the jobs.

What’s the time frame for this to happen? Six months? A year? Two years? Five years? Hard to say. It seems like a fair assumption but it will take time for IT personnel to adopt the technology and permeate knowledge about virtualization throughout their teams and organizations.

If you don’t see this happening anytime soon drop me a comment. I’d like to hear other thoughts on the topic.

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  • Andrew

    I would have to agree that the virtual administrators job will be less "all encompassing", but there will still be a need. We are already doing this, to a degree, where I work. The SAN management has stayed with the storage team, the network management has stayed with the network team (although we VMware admins had to teach them how to administer it).

    The VMs of differing operating systems belong to the administrative groups for the different OSs…i.e. Windows VMs are managed by the windows team.

    I don’t think, however, that there will ever not be a need for an admin to manage the physical servers that run the virtual servers. We are an ESX shop. ESX is different enough from RHEL that the rest of the linux admins don’t understand it. Additionally, provisioning of servers is completely different. It requires someone with knowledge of how the virtual world works to determine the best setup for a VM, and then to manage the VM (not the OS inside it) on the physical host.

    Additionally, ESX has it’s own requirements…DRS, resource pools, virtual datacenter management, etc.

    There are still some struggles that we have with the other (sub)departments…network guys don’t understand why we want multiple 10G channels into the blade chassis (”It’s only got 14 blades…why do you need that much bandwidth?” “Ummm, because there’s actually > 170 virtual servers running in there, and they all use the network…”), and the storage team doesn’t understand why iSCSI doesn’t work for everything all the time (”but [insert document here] says that iSCSI is cheaper and faster for VMware…we’ll just give you some LUNs, you don’t need an aggregate to yourself…”, ugh).

    Don’t get me started on security…most of them (here at least) are terrified they are going to break ESX by hardening it (and piss off everyone who uses a VM for their services in the process), and they have difficulty understanding that the VMs need to be secured as well (”When ESX is secure, all the VMs will be secure too!!”).

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