Virtualization Use Spreading, But Still Early Days

A survey conducted by the IBM User Group SHARE has found that the use of virtualization technologies is spreading in a wide range of companies, however, respondents also say those deployments are largely in the early learning stages.

The survey was conducted by Unisphere Research in the month of December on behalf of SHARE and polled 388 IT professionals, ranging from CIOs to individual practioners. It found that server virtualization was the most wide-spread form of virtualization with 69% of respondents saying they had deployed some degree of server virtualization. That was followed by storage virtualization at 45%, network virtualization at 27%, desktop virtualization at 19%, grid computing or clustering at 17%, application virtualization at 16% and data virtualization at 11%.

Despite the attention cloud computing is receiving in the media and from the big technology firms, it appears that very few organizations have yet to dip their toes into the market. Only 10% of respondents said they had deployed some form of cloud computing.

"These findings are especially interesting in light of current business conditions," said Pamela Taylor, SHARE president. "If you think about what's happening with IT budgets . . . the pressure to use resources more efficiently and avoiding capital expenditures, virtualization really makes sense.

"In fact, virtualization is likely to garner more of the CIO's budget than if we had gone down the path of business as usual," she said. Virtualization can be a means of cutting costs by making more effective use of hardware resources, increasing datacenter capacity, better balancing workloads, and reducing overall power consumption.

Taylor said SHARE commissioned the survey because it wanted to get a better sense of the breadth of deployment in organizations. She said there was plenty of evidence that virtualization was being deployed but no clear understanding of whether the deployments had moved beyond pilots and into widespread adoption. The results of this survey show that it appears to still be early days for the technology.

"Many respondents indicated that what was being done was being done in pockets of their organizations," said Taylor. "However, we also did get a sense that CIOs are looking at doing more organization-wide deployments."

SHARE will be holding its Winter 2009 conference in Austin, Texas from March 1 to 6, and "Total Enterprise Virtualization" will be one of two major themes for the conference. The other is "Service Orientation-The Foundation for IT Modernization.

The following are the key findings from the SHARE survey:

  • Virtualization is on the radar screens of a majority of enterprises, with server or storage virtualization already in place at many organizations.

  • Cloud computing is a new strategy, adopted by only a handful of companies. However, many respondents recognize the role cloud computing will play in enterprise virtualization strategies.

  • Enterprise virtualization goals align closely with IT business goals, from consolidation and operational streamlining to achieving "greener" IT.

  • Most virtualization initiatives are scattered, and few are enterprise in scope. However, the business recognizes the value of enterprise virtualization.

  • Barriers to effective enterprise deployments are more likely to be organizational that technical. Still, a majority of organizations survey intend to increase funding for virtualization projects over the coming year.

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