In my post last week, I reviewed five technologies I'm thankful for. As I mulled over what to include, I strongly considered not putting virtualization on the list. I'm thankful for it, but it's become such an integral part of delivery x86-based services in data centers of all shapes and sizes that I wasn't certain it was worth a mention. From my perspective, it's sort of like making a point to be thankful for intermittent windshield wipers or sliced bread -- both are great, but they've become so commonplace that few of us really notice their presence.
Of course, realizing that not everyone shares your perspective (however mainstream you might think it to be) is one of the fun parts of being human. Only a few days after that story ran, I found myself on a conference call with a client and the hardware team from one of its primary software vendors. The goal of the conference call was to sort through a pair of technology bids the vendor had submitted for a pending upgrade of a mission-critical business application. One of the bids would see the application upgraded onto new, nonvirtualized hardware, while the other included virtualizing pretty much everything except for the back-end database layer.
At first, this was refreshing -- this vendor had previously been very resistant to supporting virtualization. Outside of the servers supporting this application stack and a few high-utilization servers that'd be difficult to virtualize, the client's data center is almost entirely virtualized. Being able to virtualize the servers for the upgraded application in the same manner as the rest of the infrastructure would have been an obvious win.