According to recent research from IDC, the pace of adoption of virtualized servers is incredibly rapid among organizations that are using virtualization, with 35 percent of servers purchased in 2007 being virtualized and 52 percent of those bought in 2008 expected to be so. 54 percent of those not using virtualization expect to do so in the next 18 months. While both large companies and smaller organizations are seeing virtualization as being key to their data centre strategy, their next challenge will be to make more effective use of this capability.
"Virtualization use has exploded since our last survey of the European market," said Chris Ingle, consulting and research director, IDC's Systems Group. "Both large organisations and smaller businesses are using the technology for a wider range of applications and for business critical projects. As use of virtualization grows the challenges around managing complexity, finding skills and software licensing become more apparent."
Further findings include:
* Organizations are increasing their virtualization of x86 systems for core business applications, although the majority of virtualization is still for test and development and for network server applications. Expertise and skills are the biggest barrier to virtualization adoption.
* Growth of virtualization as a strategy remains strong, rising from 46 percent of the base to 54 percent. What is interesting is that virtualization is growing as a data centre strategy in itself rather than as part of other projects. This supports the view that virtualization is increasingly seen as a standard for a wide range of workloads.
* VMware is the clear market leader in providing virtualization technology with 82 percent of the sample using VMware. Despite high levels of Linux use, only 3 percent of the sample were using Xen as their virtualization platform. Microsoft was used by 13 percent of the sample base with various Unix technologies and mainframe accounting for 14 percent.
* 59 percent of implementations have fewer than four VMs or partitions per physical box. The largest growth area for virtualization use over the past year, particularly in small and medium businesses, is improving disaster recovery, backup, and enhancing availability.
* Availability of skills and application vendor licensing are the factors causing most problems for virtualization users. 23 percent of virtualization users report that their application vendors' licensing is still not meeting their needs and 33 percent of large businesses report that it limits use of virtualization.
* Despite seeing virtualization as a vital tool for their business, the majority of organizations do not measure benefits and use virtual infrastructure in the same way they do physical infrastructure.
"Some companies have both a large set of applications that can be managed more effectively and, more importantly, a backlog of applications they need to deploy," said Nathaniel Martinez, program director, European Enterprise Servers. "Virtualization enables these companies to rationalize their application portfolio and deploy applications more effectively. As the market matures, we expect companies to start to measure their virtualization projects more closely and look for greater value from virtualization across their infrastructure."
Chris Ingle added: "The range of approaches makes the right technology selection critical: Microsoft is making a strong push for market share later in 2008; VMware seems to be in the right place with its focus on business continuity and virtualization management; Citrix and the Unix vendors are appealing to their core markets; HP, IBM, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Dell, Sun, BMC, and others will look to take the lead in systems and management."
To purchase IDC's 2008 European Server Virtualization Survey: Fast Growth and Wider Range of Applications (IDC #GE56Q, June 2008), contact your local IDC office or visit www.idc.com
•Date: 9th July 2008• Region: W.Europe •Type: Article •Topic: IT continuity
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