Virtualization as a kludge against progress
I am one of those IT "generalists" that the article speaks of and it's true that I can only look on and salivate at the prospect of getting my hands on those high-priced delicious toys that the corporate guys get to play with.
To give you some background, I am an IT consultant and work for a small (~6 employee) company in New York City which serves small to mid-range businesses. We've virtualized our internal environment easily enough (with VMware ESX server) for the benefits of lower electrical bills and not having to deal with outdated servers which chugg along and spawn headache after headache but never do you the courtesy of actually dying so you could replace them.
But I'm rambling. I wanted to comment on a unique(?) reason for virtualizing a server or environment which might have been overlooked in all the back and forth on the subject. We have a client who since time immemorial has been running a Windows 2000 Server with Oracle on it. There are all sorts of scripts and web-based front-ends that have been piled on through the ages. There is some other outsourced DB Admin that manages the Oracle database. Other suppliers and wholesale cusomers interact with the system and their IT teams that poke and prod at the DB and its related patina of apps, add-ons and services.
Noone wants to touch this mess. Noone dare utter the word "Upgrade".
There is enough finger-pointing and bickering when there is a crash or when the server grinds to a crawl. Dread hangs in the air in anticipation of the day when the whole mess coughs up a lung and packs it in. The old stuff wont work with new Oracle. The old Oracle wont work with new Windows Server version. And even if it did, who would be stupid enough to take on the task of rebuilding this mess?
Before half the fools in the NYC area jump out of their seats offering their services, keep in mind noone wants to actually PAY for the time and effort such a task would entail.
So when the server finally took a crap and started running like its disks were filled with molassas, and the DB tinkerers all yelled in a chorus that they "Need More Power!" but dared not migrate to newer versions of anything, there was only one thing left to do!!!!
"VMware Converter" to the rescue!!! It took the heaping pile of decade-old spaghetti and moved it into a Virtial Machine running on ESX Server. Now it has 100x more CPU horsepower and tons more RAM to throw at the hideously inefficient klunky database mess. Noone had to change thir ways and everything keeps chugging along without any pesky "progress" to get in the way!
At least they're out of OUR hair.
PS we also threw their 2003 AD\Exchange Server and their BlackBerry Enterprise server onto there as VMs. Can't run Echange and BB server on the same OS so now they have 1 physical server instead of 3 but that's a pretty common story i guess...