by January 1, 2009 0 comments

Rahul Sah with inputs from Isha Ghakar and Vishnu Anand

Virtualization technology is a buzzword in the industry but has been in the
market for quite long. Organizations have been adopting this technology
primarily because of the economic benefits, as it consolidates resources and
reduces IT capital costs. The current economic slowdown has forced organizations
to better leverage their IT resources, and virtualization has become that golden
solution that helps in optimization, and most efficient use of the IT resources.
Also the ‘Green IT’ bandwagon that many of the enterprises are jumping upon, has
also given Virtualization the impetus to be one of the hot technologies of last

As virtualization adoption continues to grow, the need for virtualization
solution architects, developers, implementation specialists and virtualization
administrators will continue to grow as well. The demand is high and there is a
dearth of expert professionals in virtualization domain who can cater to this
unprecedented demand.

Why is Virtualization hot?
The main reason is – economic benefits. Virtualization is the technology that
enables sharing of resources, more specifically hardware resources between
machine and application virtualization. There is a layer of extraction which is
created on the hardware that enables the virtualization software to efficiently
allocate the resources to the supported environment and this can happen on
demand. In addition to the efficient use of hardware resources, management of
the infrastructure, high availability of resources -which is very important in
an enterprise, increased security and disaster recovery are some of the main
benefits of hosting a virtualization environment. For example, server
virtualization can subdivide a single physical server of higher configuration
into multiple ‘virtual servers’ that can be deployed as the need arises. It
eliminates the need for multiple physical servers, which would not only cost
more, but will also require more space and will remain underutilized for most of
the time. Enterprises that want their servers to be used at 80- 85 percent are
increasingly adopting virtualization for their servers in their data-centers.

The advantages virtualization delivers are compelling enough for IT managers
and CIOs to overlook. As virtualization continues to integrate itself into all
aspects of IT infrastructures, the need for professionals who understand the
technology is only going to increase.

Types of virtualization
When talked about virtualization, people generally refer to server
virtualization, which in turn is just consolidation of the available server
resource. However virtualization is not confined to servers, but has multiple
types that can be briefed as follows:
1. Server virtualization: It separates an operating system from the
underlying hardware resources.
2. Desktop virtualization: The remote manipulation of a computer desktop,
based on traditional thin-client model.
3. Resource virtualization: The virtualization of specific system
resources like storage or network.
4. Grid computing: The cluster of multiple discrete
computers into a larger mega computer to harness maximum processing power.
5. Application virtualization: The hosting of application on alien
hardware and providing that as a service remotely. Which happens to be like a
SaaS-based model, but the application is actually streamed from the hosting
server, while the client will be able to access that application as their
system’s native application and not through a browser as the case with SaaS
based service.

The biggest challenge in virtualization today is security. Since
virtualization melts down physical barriers of separation, data and network
level security becomes a big question

Would you throw some lights
on the latest trends in virtualization domain?

Virtualization techniques have existed for a very long time. IBM started
working on virtualization techniques in the 70s, if you remember CP/CMS.
Recently, infrastructure outsourcing organizations like the hosting
providers have started marrying virtualization to grid computing. Cloud
computing is a product of that. Clouds have reduced the barrier of entry
into the world of on-demand computing like never before. IBM announced its
virtual desktop environment just a few days ago. There is a lot of buzz
going around web-based operating system and rich clients for desktop
virtualization. Virtualized Storage Area Networks is another area which has
come upto speed with server virtualization too. IDC projects that by 2011
the market for virtualization services will reach about $12 billion. In
November this year, VMware announced its Mobile Virtualization Platform
(MVP) which will allow various operating systems like Symbian, Linux and
Windows Mobile to co-exist in the same phone. It’s becoming really exciting
and fast.

Indraneel Chaudhary
Sr. Consultant – Test Engineering, GlobalLogic

The biggest challenge in virtualization today is security. Since
virtualization melts down physical barriers of separation, data and network
level security becomes a big question. The adoption of virtualization
techniques by organizations has been rather slow because of security

What are the skill sets needed for an entry into the field? What
certifications can a professional opt to head-start his career in this

Systems knowledge is required for software development careers in this
domain. Knowledge of the Linux kernel along with skills in C and C++ is
sought after. Organizations like VMware are looking for people with such
skills in India. Sysadmin skills with knowledge of storage technologies like
SAN are hot too and much sought for. Storage network certifications like
SNIA SAN certification will definitely help. Virtualization in storage
networks is coming up very fast. Last year, VMware announced certification
in storage virtualization. Red Hat offers Enterprise Linux Virtualization
training for Red Hat Certified Technicians (RHCT) or individuals with
equivalent knowledge.

Career opportunities
The scope of a career in this sphere spans multiple functions – software
development, systems administration, quality engineering, systems support and
marketing. System administrators who can administer a cloud which is based on
virtualization techniques, quality engineers who can test desktop virtualization
software, kernel developers who can advance the technology, are few of the
career opportunities for the virtualization experts. Earlier employers looked
for candidates who could fit into the traditional IT roles like administrators,
architects etc. having some experience in virtualization. But today, they have
recognized the need for professionals who have acquired skills around
virtualization technology. Also as per a salary survey conducted in US, the
virtualization skills are twice as valuable as the average IT skills. Therefore,
acquiring virtualization knowledge can also add to your career growth.

A networking administrator will be apt for undertaking the server or storage
virtualization of the enterprise landscape. So, gaining knowledge of
virtualization can enhance the career growth aspects of networking or storage
professionals. Additionally, organizations are investing on training their
existing IT staff for virtualization solutions and technologies. Thus, fresh
graduates can find opportunities for themselves with such organizations.
Virtualization as a career is ideal for someone who is looking to learn

Vikram Shah,
President India Operations, NetApp

Virtualization is very hot right now — that’s not news to anyone in IT.
In addition, virtualization-related jobs are also in serious demand. Demands
for an engineer with virtualization skills are extremely increasing while
the supply of virtualization expertise, particularly for certified engineers
is lacking. Companies are embracing virtualization trend to look for
architects and engineers with experience in managing traditional systems to
meet their commitments and business strategy. Most virtualization jobs
across the world call for VMware experience, yet Microsoft and Citrix’s
virtualization offering gains market share, it’s likely that job demand will
grow. Almost all virtualization companies have R&D ODCs (offshore
development center) in APAC region, especially in India. Considering
virtualization as future business trend, many companies are acting towards
porting their desktop and server applications to work in virtualization
environment. Since most of the companies prefer IT professionals with
virtualization skills, availability of engineers/professionals with required
skills in India/APAC region is lacking.

Skills needed
An IT professional who wants a lucrative career in this domain should have
to be well-versed in many areas. A bachelors degree is of course a must,
preferably an Engineering or Computer
Science degree, but this is not a mandate as long as one has degree with good
work experience in the IT industry. The skill sets are varied and depend on what
field of virtualization one wants to get into —development, support, services or
sales and marketing. For example, if you are interested in R&D or Testing, then
you need to have a high level of understanding of operating systems and related
skills as desired by the level of the job. Knowledge of network and storage
stacks along with the design and implementation knowledge virtualization
solutions can be useful for the virtualization of the data-center. As
virtualization is an enabling technology, consulting and system integration
skills will be needed to help companies determine where virtualization fits in
their existing infrastructures.

VIshy Narayan,
DM, CME (Communications Media & Entertainment), Infosys Technologies.

The virtualization domain itself is very bifurcated into areas of
expertise like server virtualization, storage virtualization and even there
is virtualization of network. For a professional moving into virtualization
domain, he can choose his area of interest of expertise amongst storage,
network, desktop and application virtualization. Apart from academic
knowledge, one should try to get certified training. Other career path
comprises administrative role that is based on the kind of products that are
used to enable virtualization, so you have either a server administrator or
network administrator, who decide which products will match their
organizational demands.

In a visualized environment, anything from hardware to application level can
impact the infrastructure. Thus, a virtualization professional is in charge of
everything, he has to be highly skilled in operating systems, storage,
networking, security, and even performance measurement.

Poonacha P.T.,

Business Manager, ESS Software, Technology Solutions Group, Hewlett
Packard India Sales

Virtualization has been in the market for a long time. Professionals who
want to move forward their career in this domain, not only need to consider
the concept of virtualization but should also look at the end-results of
virtualization. One must understand the different applications of
virtualization technologies like desktop virtualization, network
virtualization, storage virtualization and workspace virtualization. With so
many different types of technologies available out there and with its
growing popularity in the market, one has to identify and understand the
virtualization approach and its end-results. If one is starting career in
this arena, please be clear about the approach and challenges of this
industry. A person with strong business acumen and IT knowledge can be the
ideal candidate. There is an opportunity for the landscape to expand. Future
is really bright in this industry.

Though the best knowledge is gained from hands-on experience of handling the
virtualization projects, a certificate only authenticates your knowledge about
the virtualization technology. There are many virtualization solutions available
from different vendors, and each of them provide their own certification courses
for their products. VMware, which dominate the market has both education
programs as well as certifications designed to help IT professionals build
world-class virtual environments. The programs are designed for varied
positions, including systems administrators, design architects, operators and
managers who are interested in enhancing their knowledge and skills of VMware
Infrastructure for datacenter and desktop environments.

Certifications in Virtualization

Course/Certification Name
Domain What you
stand to Gain

Certified Professional
Technical Gain in-depth skill to
demonstrate expertise in virtual infrastructure and is degigned for any
technical individual
Mandatory to participate in
Vmware training class to appear for VCP exam
Certified Design Expert
Architect Certifies expert-level
knowledge of design architects for Vmware enterprise deployments
Must be certified VCP on
Vmware Infrastructure 3
Certified Administrator for Citrix XenApp 5 Platinum
Application Virtualization Administrators taking
aaplication virtualization as career path will gain knowledge of XenApp 5
Apart from core exam, pass two
other exam from option of four exams
CCA for
Citrix XenServer 5 Platinum
Server Virtualization Administrators taking
aaplication virtualization as career path will gain knowledge of XenServer 5
To get certified one has to
clear a core exam and one more from option of two
CCA for
Citrix XenDesktop 2 Platinum
Desktop Virtualization Provides knowledge across
XenDesktop 2 for adminis taking desktop virtualization as career
Apart from core exam, pass two
other exam from option of four exams

Server 2008 Virtualization
Configuration Gain knowledge to maintain
Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V for virtualizaed environments
Clear Exam 70-652 to get
Technology Specialist certification. Course also available as E-Learning

Red Hat
Red Hat
Enterprise Linux Virtualization
Configuration RHEL sys admin install,
configure, and manage virtual hosts on RHEL
RHCT certification

Likewise, there are certifications and online teaching available for the
Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology. Right now VMware, Microsoft and Xen are the
three major players in the virtualization domain, as the enterprises adopt these
solutions, the demand for their trained professionals on these technologies will
also increase.

Virtualization is a lucrative career opportunity to opt for, but is highly
beneficial for professionals who are in network or storage domain as they
already have experience to leverage for the organization’s virtualization

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