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Server virtualization growing in data centers

Quoting ComputerWorld

Data center managers have adopted server virtualization wholeheartedly in the past year, across a variety of businesses for nearly every kind of application, as a way to reduce oversight and hardware costs, IT managers and analysts said at Infrastructure Management World here.

Six IT managers at the conference said in interviews that there is no downside to server virtualization, adding that the trend is firmly implanted in their IT shops. Also, more than half of the 400 attendees at the conference said in a computer-based survey that they are already deploying server virtualization in their shops or plan to do so. Research firm IDC is also tracking tremendous annual growth in the technology.

With virtualization spreading, some managers also said they are willing to consider open-source virtualization options to cut down on costs. But others were more skeptical of that idea.

All six users interviewed by Computerworld said they are using commercial virtualization software from VMware Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif., although some are testing open-source software obtained through XenSource Inc., which is also in Palo Alto.

"We see virtualization as a trend that's not going away," said Lee Congdon, vice president of corporate technology at Capital One Financial Corp. in McLean, Va. Capitol One is midway into a three-year plan to add virtualization software to Windows-based servers, a move that will reduce the number of servers at the company from 1,600 to 1,100, he said.

There have already been "substantial" cost savings arising from the transition, but Congdon would not provide details.

Generally, IT managers said they don't need as many server administrators -- or as many server boxes -- to run virtual servers. In addition, Congdon said Capitol One has used the technology to grow into more of a full-service bank faster, moving beyond its image as a credit card company. He explained that financial applications used by newer business units can be added to a collective of servers, instead of relying on the old, more expensive philosophy that every new application deserves its own server, Congdon said.

With the older system, provisioning a new server would take up to eight weeks; it now takes just two weeks, Congdon said. That reduction has made it possible to support faster application development cycles, something the bank needs as it grows.

Congdon said "any" application, mission-critical or not, can be considered viable for running on a virtual server. Some analysts have noted that server virtualization is most often used for more routine tasks not vital to an organization.

Capitol One is also evaluating the use of open-source virtualization, although he would not name any particular software. How it performs in tests will determine whether it is used, he said.

Read the rest of the article, here.

Published Thursday, September 14, 2006 1:29 PM by David Marshall
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