Automation Will Help Companies Get Over Virtualization Hump

Ann All

Learn first-hand how leading technology providers are developing midmarket technologies to solve key business and strategic challenges.

When I interviewed Gartner analyst Jim Browning earlier this month about midmarket CIOs' plans for virtualization, I wondered if growing interest in virtualization created opportunities for managed services providers to help companies manage their virtualized environments. Browning told me he wasn't seeing it yet, at least not in the midmarket, but he expected it would become more common as midmarket companies move from server consolidation to virtualizing other elements of their infrastructures.


That already seems to be happening at larger companies, based on a post in which IT Business Edge contributor Mike Vizard discusses what he calls the virtualization paradox. Because of a shortage of staff with virtualization skills, IT organizations face an interesting conundrum: "The more they embrace virtualization, the more expensive IT labor costs become," writes Vizard.


He links to results of a recent Forrester survey on virtualization management and trends that seems to show virtualization adoption reaching a plateau. Forrester found 25 percent of respondents are still becoming acclimated to virtualization, while 32 percent are using it to consolidate infrastructure resources. Another 33 percent are incorporating virtualization into process improvement efforts, and just 9 percent are using pooling and automation. Seventy-three percent of the respondents said they wanted virtualization management-as-a-service.


While the majority of the IT professionals surveyed said that virtualization is having a positive impact on IT service overall, only about one third of them described themselves as being relatively sophisticated in terms of their use of virtualization. For that number to grow, IT pros obviously will need to become more comfortable with virtualizaton-management tools.


Aaron Suzuki, CEO of Prowess, a provider of tools that automate the deployment of application images on both virtual and physical servers, told Vizard that not only will virtual machine images become increasingly complex to manage, they will need to be deployed across diverse hardware running a variety of virtual machine software from VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Red Hat and Oracle. Writes Vizard:

This means IT organizations must embrace automation to keep pace with that increased complexity.

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