Don Spencer (Waterloo, ON, IT Professional)
This is the second, and final, blog entry in a mini-series about virtualization for IT managers. Unlike the first entry, which dealt with the critical importance of using appropriate terminology in securing C-level executive buy-in on virtualization research and projects, this note is about the technology itself and the resources available for getting up to speed quickly. In other words, the first entry was about talking intelligently with your boss; this is about talking intelligently with your staff.
Hear all about it with podcasting
If you are like me, one of the most efficient and effective ways of keeping current with technology is by listening to podcasts. When I'm traveling, when I'm doing weekend chores, when I'm exercising, I take advantage of my iPod (OK, maybe it should be a Zune) and listen to TechNet Radio, RunAs Radio, Small Business IT Radio, PodTech.net, and of course, the Microsoft IT Manager Podcast.
Here are a few starting points:
Old School - Get out the books
Few of us have time to sit down with large books these days, but if you do, here is the best place to begin:
Online Geek Talk
You might want to delegate someone on your team to monitoring the virtual community. Or, if you're like me, you might want to get your hands dirty.
Virtual Mall Rats
You already probably know which company offerings you prefer in the virtualization space. But you still need to be conversant with the other major players. Consider joining searchservervirtualization.com and then gain access to white papers like the Xen Fast Guide. The site also includes a server virtualization library with another of the big three virtualization "store" owners (Microsoft, VMWare, Xen) - Guide to Virtual Infrastructure Implementation. Realtime Nexus also has a shopper's guide entitled The Shortcut Guide to Selecting the Right Virtualization Solution (again, you'll need to become a subscriber). The first chapter about assessment is particularly good.
And then there's Microsoft ;>)
If you've come this far with me, you might be wondering why I haven't mentioned Microsoft's resources directly. Because I wanted you to read this far, of course!
Yes, you should make one of the first stops http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization, particularly the Virtualization Resources section. If you have a Windows Live ID, sign up for the Microsoft Virtualization Newsletter. Check out Robert Larson's (and several others) blog, the videocasts from TechEd IT Forum currently underway in Spain (see especially The Promise of Virtualization with David Greschler, the Director of Virtualization Integration), the downloads for products like Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, Softgrid Application Virtualization, Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate, etc.
Finally, buy yourself a shirt, wear it to work and ask your staff what the Microsoft color of virtualization happens to be (If you watch the short interview with David Greschler, you'll find out right at the end).
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