You can take your pick about which year is really the "year of virtualization." As I've noted before, many have touted 2008 as that year. Others are saying that as big as 2008 was for virtualization, 2009 will be even bigger. Suffice it to say, virtualization is hot, not just as a buzzword, but in reality. Pick a poll, pick a survey, and you'll find the numbers all point to the majority of real businesses, real government, and real public and non-profit organizations with either virtualization fully implemented, partially implemented, or plans for virtualization under way. It's more than hype.
In a recent post in the widely-read DCIG blog, which evaluates products and services in the storage and electronically stored information (ESI) markets. Jerome Wendt writes that "2009 is shaping up as the year of server virtualization" and that "the hype is giving way to the reality of companies actually virtualizing their production servers as a means to improve energy efficiencies and slash infrastructure costs." Jerome also states that this move "is creating challenges, especially for Windows servers using utilities such as defragmenters that will begin to operate on virtual machines (VMs) and defragment each VM's associated file system." Jerome notes that there are larger defragmenting challenges "in virtualized server environments due to the performance impact on the host and guest machines and because most applications and operating systems are still not aware that they are virtualized and, as such, do not and cannot communicate with the underlying hypervisor. This becomes a problem when defragmenting the file systems associated with specific VMs, since the defragmentation utility assumes that it is defragmenting a file system that resides on direct attached storage and is not aware that the storage is under the management of the hypervisor, and therefore needs to defragment this storage differently."
Jerome rightly points out that defrag vendors are already aware of these problems in virtualized server environments. He also declares that some defragmentation software is better suited to meeting these new challenges than others, and calls out PerfectDisk as one in particular. This is because of PerfectDisk's superior free space consolidation. As Jerome writes, "the benefit that companies gain as physical machines running PerfectDisk are virtualized is that the performance impact when the defragmentation process runs is diminished...PerfectDisk executes in a shorter amount of time while decreasing the impact on the underlying physical server." Jerome covers other PerfectDIsk advantages for virtualized environments in the article.
But here's where the big news kicks in. The post ends up with this statement: "But PerfectDisk, like most products, now needs to evolve to better communicate with the underlying virtual infrastructure to deliver the new range of benefits that most companies expect to realize from their virtual infrastructure in the coming years."
With all this virtualization news and just about every vendor under the sun with a virtualization product or product to try to assist virtualization users, it's interesting that none of these products, applications and even operating systems are even smart enough to be aware that they are in a virtual environment.
Just think if a defragmentation product was aware it was in a virtual environment. No more blindly consuming resources during a defrag run, "invisibly" or not. No more guests getting more than their share of the resource pie to the detriment of other guests and the host. No more conflicts. No more guessing. Virtual guests' defrag software dynamically adjusting its resource consumption behavior with respect to its physical resource load.
Imagine disk defragmentation software that is truly virtual aware. That time is not years away. And it won't be invisible.
It's a Perfect 10. Coming soon.