Virtualization has become the standard method for delivering IT resources in the 21st Century. It abstracts the applications and services delivered from the physical components of IT infrastructure. Beginning with the virtualization of industry-standard servers and compute resources it quickly spread to include client virtualization. Storage was soon included in the mix of IT resources that were presented for use via virtual abstraction. Increasingly the same is true for networking infrastructure via Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).

There are many reasons to embrace the virtualization trend across all aspects of IT infrastructure. It delivers an agile yet robust server, storage and networking platform at a lower cost. At the same time, it makes IT provision easier to manage and allows for the orchestration of services and applications. Organizations can flex their IT infrastructure with changing circumstances when virtual layers are in place.

The virtualization of server and storage infrastructure has allowed the decoupling of requirements for applications and services from the underlying physical hardware. Expensive servers do not need to be dedicated to single functions anymore. Similarly, storage resources can be optimally used when virtually shared to reduce storage purchased and maintained. The virtualization of IT brings many benefits to organizations across all areas of operation. It reduces costs, increases IT and business agility, encourages testing and experimentation with software tools, makes the provision of IT more reliable, makes management of infrastructure easier, facilitates disaster recovery planning, provides a flexible foundation for organizations to grow, and is a stepping stone to cloud computing.

The virtualization of servers, storage, desktops, and networks provides the foundation for the next generation of computing and hybrid cloud delivery. Organizations that have embraced virtualization across all areas of IT will find it easier to adopt and deploy new and advanced technology as it comes to market over the next decade. This will provide business benefits and competitive advantage.