"The value in virtualisation technology moving forward will be in the management and the operating system rather than in the virtualisation stack."
I attended an interesting session at IT Forum today from Guillaume Field, from Dell. He started the session off by saying something along the lines of "you are all buying way too many servers and we want you to stop". Controversial stuff to hear from a guy at Dell. However, he then went on to say that that all these servers people are buying are doing the wrong thing and virtualisation is the way to get them back on track.
It seems that of all the power put into a data centre, only 4% of it is actually turned into compute power. Match this with the fact that most servers are only at around 5-15% utilisation you can see what Guillaume is getting at with his opening statement. By continuing with the traditional model of 'new application=new physical server', we are seeing compute power increase and utilisation decrease. Dell's data centres are so full that they are only allowed to implement a new server if they remove one. Without virtualisation this would limit their ability to grow their business.
The power of the new x86 servers is still growing according to Moore's law, so theoretically as Dell does replace servers in its data centre with a strategy to virtualise, they will see utilisation increase as compute power increases.
The point about the value being in the management is absolutely crucial to this and Guillaume's outlined Microsoft's strategy to have one Management interface for all its virtualisation products (Terminal Services, SoftGrid, Virtual PC and Virtual Server). Naturally the Management Interface to do this is Microsoft System Centre which is also the tool you are using to manage the rest of the estate. Simple!