Monday, 1 February 2010

Is virtualisation running out of steam?

US technology provider CDW published a survey-based report earlier this month looking at the virtualisation market – maturity, differences by company size, value, barriers to implementation, etc.  The full report is here.

The first point to emerge is that server virtualisation is maturing – more than 90% of businesses that responded had implemented it at some level and more than half said they had completed their deployment.  But this seems to have been very much focused on the easy wins - even organisations reporting that they have ‘fully deployed’ server virtualisation said that just 37% of their industry-standard server infrastructure consists of virtual servers.

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There were a number of reasons why they had stopped there.  The most-cited barriers were security concerns (17%) and the compatibility of current hardware (17%) or critical software applications (11%), as well as the uncertainty of a return on investment (12%).

On the other hand, only 11% of businesses that have fully implemented virtualisation voiced concern with security, although the figure was 22% for businesses that have not implemented it fully, suggesting that security was an issue in further deployment.  Overall, though, 95% of businesses that have implemented virtualisation believe they are saving significant money as a result, and almost as many (94%) are measuring their success in terms of IT productivity, business agility and reductions in IT energy consumption.

The main drivers to adopting virtualisation in the first place are shown in the chart below.  It’s not surprising that ‘Green IT initiatives’ is not top of the list, but nevertheless a mention by 57% of respondents is encouraging.

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It will be interesting to see what happens next.  If this survey is correct then we’re nearing the end of this phase of the adoption of virtualisation in medium/large companies.  The easy stuff has been done and there are disincentives to taking it further at the moment.

But there will inevitably be further adoption over time as the barriers are pushed over.  If no security issues emerge then companies will take it further, for example.  Probably more likely, issues of cost, energy use, emissions management, legislation, etc. will put further pressure on data centres who will be obliged to take virtualisation further.

© The Green IT Review

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