• United States

Virtualization moves mainstream, survey shows

Jan 03, 20063 mins
Data Center

* IDC survey on virtualization

A recent IDC survey of 420 IT managers showed that server virtualization has now moved beyond proof of concept.

Of those IT managers that have deployed server virtualization, over half are using it in production environments to run business-critical applications such as databases, decision support and business processing. Web applications are most commonly virtualized on Linux servers.

IDC found that virtualization has had an effect on server sales – in the period between the second quarter of 2004 and the second quarter of 2005, server shipments declined by almost 3%.

The survey was evenly split between IT managers who were virtualizing x86 servers and those virtualizing non-x86 server environments. Eighty-nine percent of the IT managers virtualizing their servers are primarily doing it to save costs. The second-most cited factor for virtualization was to ease management and maintenance of servers – nearly 34% of IT managers surveyed said that this was a primary motivator.

Rack-mounted servers were the servers that were most often virtualized – nearly 63% of the servers virtualized were of this type, followed by blade servers at almost 27% and pedestal-mounted servers at 11%.

Nearly 63% of all servers virtualized have multiple copies of the same operating system installed in a partition. Twenty-three percent have different versions of the same operating system running in a partition.

IDC says that server vendors should focus on three messages for the virtualization products they sell: virtualization reduces costs, it aids in simplifying customer environments and it helps customers more easily respond to changes in their business.

As virtualization adoption increases, IDC says that technical support and services for virtualization will become more important.

Interestingly, the survey also found that a quarter of the respondents did not find any hurdles to implementing virtualization. Institutional resistance, costs and lack of technical expertise were cited as the largest hurdles.

Eighty-seven percent of users set up their own virtualized environments, and 95% support them. Over 46% says that it takes less than an hour to carve out a new partition.

Unix and IBM System/390 users buy virtualization as part of an integrated software package. Over 60% of Windows and Linux virtualized server software is purchased separately.

IDC expects that virtualized servers, which represent 2.7% of the physical servers sold, will increase to 11.2% of the servers sold in 2009. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 47.7%.

The survey concludes that as AMD’s Pacifica technology, Intel’s VT, the Xen Optimizer and Microsoft Virtual Server becomes part of the Windows operating system, the value of software that uses the x86 hypervisor layer will decrease.

Further, IDC estimates that 64-bit computing, multi-core processors and blade servers will accelerate server virtualization.