Getting Over the Virtualization Hump

Michael Vizard


A new study on virtualization adoption that was conducted by Forrester Consulting finds that while IT organizations are aggressively adopting the concept, only about half of the 257 IT professionals surveyed said they expected to have more than half their servers will be virtual within the next two years.

Commissioned by CA, the survey suggests that we may soon see a plateau in terms of virtualization adoption as IT organizations wrestle with a number of issues, including virtual machine performance, security and a lack of virtualization management skills.

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 usage of virtualization.

Server virtualization as a whole seems to have reached a plateau in terms of the comfort level IT organizations have with the technology. For example, file servers are relatively easy to run and manage on virtual servers. But the comfort level with running mission-critical applications on top of virtual servers is not nearly as high because of performance concerns.

Andi Mann, CA vice president of virtualization management marketing, says this all means that the promise of data center agility enabled by virtualization is not being fulfilled just yet. In particular, comfort levels with advanced virtualization capabilities such as the ability to dynamically move application workloads across the enterprise are low. Much of this problem can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with virtualization management tools that are needed to enable IT organizations to master virtual machine deployments on a scale that is much higher than any group of IT professionals can keep pace with manually.

Part of that issue has to do with the simple fact that most IT organizations don't have dedicated virtualization specialists, with only 20 percent of the IT professionals surveyed saying they have subject matter experts for virtualization on staff. In fact, a significant percentage of them said they were relying on third-party service providers to provide that expertise and a huge percentage said they would prefer to see virtualization management delivered as a service versus something they would have to master themselves.

Right now, Mann says that the vast majority of IT organizations seem to lack any real visibility into their virtual server deployments, without which they can't attain higher levels of virtualization maturity

But while just about everybody said they would continue to invest in virtualization, only about 35 percent said they currently viewed virtualization as a foundation for revamping their internal IT operations to deliver private cloud computing services.


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Mar 30, 2010 3:03 PM David M Lynch David M Lynch  says:
The challenges identified in this study line up well to what we are seeing in the marketplace. The bulk of the virtualization users are still at the initial maturity stage and struggling with the impact of this technology on existing processes and systems; while at the same time trying to prepare for the growth they can see coming towards them. And while virtualization does increase flexibility and allow Ops groups do more with less, it will never reach its full potential without some cultural changes and increased automation� Like it or not virtualization is changing the way that datacenters need to be managed, processes require too much manual intervention today, which is one of the reasons that it�s so difficult to recruit and retain the proper skills. The good news is that the additional tools and systems that are needed are starting to hit the market, and they do make a difference on how efficiently virtual datacenters can be managed, but we are still a long way from the much touted internal cloud� . David M Lynch VP Marketing Embotics Corporation Reply

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