Interview

Embracing Virtualisation Technology : Chris Sharp, General Manager- Server and Tools- Microsoft APAC, India

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“We believe that organisations need to embrace virtualisation as part of their dynamic IT strategy to mobilise the resources of the infrastructure to meet dynamic business demands. This can have a profound impact on your entire operations, including faster levels of service, freeing up critical resources to take on bigger challenges, reducing costs and ultimately achieving greater agility”, says Chris Sharp, General Manager, Server and Tools, Microsoft APAC to egov magazine

Based on your vast experience, what is the IT development scenario in Asia?

Today’s IT industry in Asia Pacific is exciting and dynamic with many growth opportunities. Public and private organisations in the region are making strong investments in Information and Communication Technology, and IDC estimates that the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, will see an increase in ICT spending to US$154 billion in 2008. This represents a ten percent increase over last year. It has also been forecasted that government spending will fuel some of this momentum given the need for digital inclusion and new digital demands from a more savvy population.

At Microsoft, we believe that organisations (in the public or private sectors) need to embrace virtualisation as part of their dynamic IT strategy to mobilise the resources of the infrastructure to meet dynamic business demands. This can have a profound impact on your entire operations, including faster levels of service, freeing up critical resources to take on bigger challenges, reducing costs and ultimately achieving greater agility.

Could you please elaborate upon Microsoft’s virtual server technology and its implementation?

Our core strategy with virtualisation is about enabling it from the desktop to the data centre. This is done with an extensive suite of solutions that address the needs of each virtualisation target. This includes delivering server virtualisation with our flagship Windows Server 2008 operating system and its Hyper-V hypervisor. We are also delivering operating system virtualisation through our existing Virtual Server 2005 and Virtual PC. Application virtualisation comes via the SoftGrid Application Virtualisation. Remote desktop virtualisation is handled by the established Terminal Services as well as via the new Vista Centralised Desktop licensing, which allows users to access virtual desktops running in a remote Microsoft Virtual Server deployment via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). It also provides data virtualisation using folder redirection.

In short, the Microsoft suite can handle many of the virtualisation tasks in the data centre including server consolidation, development duties, and accelerated provisioning. Additionally, management of the virtualised datacentre is handled by Microsoft System Centre, an integrated management platform that allows both the physical and virtual environments to be managed from a single interface with extensive integrations into existing environments and platforms.

To date, we have seen more than 250,000 downloads of Windows Server 2008 and IDC estimates that it will be installed on more than 3.5 million servers worldwide by the end of 2008. With approximately 5% of servers currently using virtualisation technology, we believe this represents a strong growth opportunity for the software industry,

offering significant opportunity to help governments reduce costs, make IT more flexible, and enable vendors to offer more services.

What opportunities do you foresee for Microsoft in general, and for the server business in particular under it?

I am confident that the year 2008 will be a significant year for Microsoft and our server business in Asia Pacific.

Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions for Microsoft, and 2008 has been a milestone year for us. In February 2008, Microsoft launched Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. This was a phenomenal launch with more than 50,000 attendees at events across 18 cities in APAC, 250,000 downloads of Windows Server 2008 for evaluation, more than 20,000 customers and 9000 partners trained and more than 120 community-led events. These new products have strengthened Microsoft’s ability to help business customers and partners save money, optimise their processes, human resources and technology, and position Information Technology as a strategic asset for businesses.

From a momentum perspective, Microsoft also sees organisations embracing virtualisation technology in a big way– this is a key value proposition of Windows Server 2008. In fact,  Springboard Research has found that the virtualisation software and services market in Asia  Pacifi c will grow at an estimated CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 42% to reach  US$1.35 billion by 2010 as CIO interest in the technology has steadily increased. It is also  estimated that virtualisation services will grow to US$1 billion by 2010 to form the major  portion of this market as organisations will spend 2 to 3 times more on services than on  software. These fi ndings were based on a survey of CIOs from large and mid-sized enterprises  in Australia, China, India and Singapore.

What are the operational challenges in implementing
government projects in India and the rest of Asia?

The trend is clear: Public and private sector organisations will continue to face more devices, services, changes and demands in their daily work. The challenge is to manage this complexity to achieve agility while keeping costs under control.

At Microsoft, we believe that organisations (in the public or private sectors) need to embrace virtualisation as part of their dynamic IT strategy to mobilise the resources of the infrastructure to meet dynamic business demands. This can have a profound impact on your entire operations, including faster levels of service, freeing up critical resources to take on bigger challenges, reducing costs and ultimately achieving greater agility.

Therefore, we are focused on a range of initiatives to help customers accelerate the adoption of  virtualisation to build a dynamic IT environment. By developing a comprehensive approach  towards virtualisation, we are working to deliver solutions at the hardware, application and  management levels that bring an economical and strategic advantage to government  organisations.

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