Virtualisation a disruptive technology driving further consolidation

Infrastructure orthodoxy under attack

This concerns some vendors that believe a smooth-running and standardised infrastructure threatens to commoditise their component parts and are keen to establish a critical "linchpin" status in the market, he adde.

"This competition will play itself out in the market and in users' infrastructure, and it will be messy," Sargeant warned.

"Eventually a few dominant infrastructure control architectures will emerge, and in those architectures, vendors will solidify a span on control in a hierarchy of governance."

As a result of the uncertainty that will prevail over the market in the short-to-medium term, Sargeant advised against following a specific vendor's vision and instead advised users to determine their own vision of architecture control and build toward it with a constantly updated strategic plan.

"In the medium term, align your virtualisation strategy with the business, avoid vendor hype and beware of software pricing and licensing," he said.

"Be prepared to experiment, but make sure that you are the scientist, not the subject."

Blue Moon Design IT director, Peter Mulligan, agrees market disruption created by virtualisation technology could be messy for the vendors.

"There are new products in this space cropping up all the time as everyone tries to get a piece of the pie and establish their own niche," Mulligan said.

"I think that's good news because at the moment VMware and its ESX Server completely dominates the market.

"This dominance is particularly evident when it comes to pricing; VMWare costs twice as much as the nearest competitor."

Overall, Mulligan said virtualisation has been heaven-sent for users, especially when it comes to reducing infrastructure costs.

"And I haven't encountered any licensing problems, most of the big players are keen to get onboard and support virtualisation for fear of being left behind," he added.

Gartner's forthcoming infrastructure summit will be held over two days on May 6-7, 2008.

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