Gartner: only 25 percent of server workloads will be in a virtual machine by end 2010
More than 80 percent of enterprises now have a virtualisation program or project, but only 25 percent of all server workloads will be in a virtual machine (VM) by year-end 2010, according to Gartner Inc. Many IT leaders believe that they have virtualised their x86 servers, but Gartner said they have to plan for two to three times the growth of virtualisation in the portfolio.
"Virtualisation will continue as the highest-impact issue challenging infrastructure and operations through 2015, changing how you manage, how and what you buy, how you deploy, how you plan and how you charge," said Philip Dawson, research vice president at Gartner. "Virtualisation now drives efficient IT from all angles, including data centre design, platform updates, and application and infrastructure modernization, as well as traditional and new delivery models, such as infrastructure utility and cloud computing. However, virtualisation does take investment; the savings are not a given."
Mr. Dawson said that as virtualisation matures, the next "big thing" will be automating the composition and management of the virtualised resources. Storage has already been virtualised, but primarily within the scope of individual vendor architectures. Networking is also virtualised, and the next challenge is server virtualisation.
Gartner estimates that approximately 90 percent of the server market is composed of x86 architecture servers, but based on a traditional model of one application per server, roughly 80 to 90 percent of the x86 computing capacity is unused at any time. Virtualisation promises to unlock much of this underutilised capacity. As such, many IT organisations are approaching server virtualisation as a cost-saving measure, and it is saving money. However, organisations that have a mature server virtualisation deployment in place are leveraging virtualisation for much more: faster deployments, reduced downtime, disaster recovery, variable usage accounting and usage chargeback, holistic capacity planning and more.
From a desktop perspective, hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) transfer the thick-client computing environment that runs on a PC to a server, removing some management overhead from the desktop location and allowing administrators to centralize their activities. This centralisation allows IT to move some of the management activities that sit on a PC to a server, enabling administrators to manage desktops in a central location. While this enhances flexibility for administration, it does require more computing and storage capacity at the data centre level.
"HVDs are poised to undergo explosive growth, and enterprises are anticipating the flexibility and other benefits that these devices will bring. HVDs provide end-user flexibility, efficiency, energy savings and other benefits, enabling administrators to manage desktops from a centralised location and end users to access their desktops from machines in any location," said Mr. Dawson. "However, enterprises need to understand the strain this technology can place on their data centre infrastructures and operations, especially when thousands of employees use this platform type."
Gartner analysts said virtualised licensing continues to present a major stumbling block to widespread adoption of virtualisation. As vendors change their software pricing and associated license provisions to accommodate virtual use, negotiators must plan to spend an increased amount of time per contract to understand the effect of such changes on planned software use. Gartner believes that organisations that do not diligently monitor the ways each vendor is responding to virtual use issues are likely to experience significantly increased costs and the unintended impairment of their current license rights.
Additional information is available in the report "ATV: Virtualisation Reality." The report focuses on the impact of virtualisation on traditional IT areas of servers, desktops, storage and management, as well as the future impact and planning aspects. The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1414513.
This research is part of the Gartner Special Report "Virtualisation." The Special Report examines how virtualisation can enhance flexibility and agility by detaching workloads and data from the functional side of physical infrastructure. The Special Report includes links to more than 50 Gartner documents covering various issues concerning virtualisation. The Special Report is on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/virtualisation/report/index.jsp.
Gartner analysts will discuss virtualisation trends and issues at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held in Sydney 16-18 November 2010.
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