Looking at the evolution of server virtualization it's obvious that it's starting to become a commodity technology and it's on everybody's mind.
What we notice a lot in the field is that often different technologies are compared on a product/feature basis, but not on a platform/strategic basis.
Using server virtualization is a strategic choice, a platform choice!
Just as choosing your hardware and operating systems, the choice for server virtualization is a longer term choice. Every server is dependent on the server virtualization platform that enables your servers to be virtualized and cannot just be replaced by a different platform from one day to the next.
The way I look at server virtualization is that it should seamlessly integrate with the physical infrastructure in a way that it almost becomes transparent from a server management perspective. The fact that a server is actually virtualized shouldn't be anything more than a property of that specific server, nothing special! An example:Should my database service report performance issues due to resource constraints, my management solution should be able to make an intelligent decision to move the server to a different host, a different host where these specific resources are available so sufficient resources are available for the service. Or that if my web server farm's resources are almost maxed out, my management solution can fire up the creation of new web servers on other hosts and add them to the farm. This is seamless integration!
There shouldn't be a difference in the way physical or virtualized servers are managed. Not even if the physical server is a virtualization host!
The management solution needs to understand that that database server is running in a virtual machine and act accordingly if required.
The biggest differentiator for virtualization platforms in the coming years will be the way the virtualized infrastructure can be managed and how this integrates with the physical infrastructure.
That's is exactly what Microsoft's server virtualization platform offers using Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V and the System Center product suite!
The Promise of Virtualization
Server Virtualization and System Center