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Gartner Says 16 Percent of Workloads are Running in Virtual Machines Today

Although server virtualization is not currently as widespread as many presume, the market is growing rapidly, according to Gartner, Inc. Only 16 percent of workloads are running in virtual machines today, but Gartner predicts that this will rise to around 50 percent of x86 architecture server workloads by the end of 2012, representing approximately 58 million deployed machines.

Gartner provided the latest outlook for the server virtualization market during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through October 22. Gartner said server virtualization technology enables multiple operating system (OS) instances to be deployed, operated and managed concurrently on a single physical server.

Gartner said that the fastest growing market for virtual machines is the small business sector.

“While large enterprises were quick to leverage virtual machines to reduce server sprawl and power costs, as well as conserve data center space, small business started late on virtualization,” said Tom Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, by year-end 2010, enterprises with 100-999 employees will have a higher penetration of virtual machines deployed than the Global 500. For years the entry point was simply too high for small enterprises, but increased competition by server vendors has enable smaller firms to embrace virtualization.”

Gartner advocates a ‘start small, think big’ approach to virtualized server deployments that begins with a specific project but builds towards a wider strategic plan that includes management and process changes.

“Starting small both reduces risk and provides for a learning curve while building the foundations for sustainable reductions in total cost of ownership (TCO) and improvements in service quality,” Mr. Bittman said. “The other aspect, ‘thinking big’, means it’s important to proactively plan ahead for the major process and management changes virtualization brings – not to mention how virtualization is a path to cloud computing.”

Looking into the future at how server virtualization will evolve, Mr. Bittman said it was important to understand that virtualization is not cloud computing, but it enables and forces the same changes required to effectively leverage cloud computing and as such, virtualization leads inexorably to cloud computing.

“What many organizations fail to recognize about virtualization is that the most important changes aren’t technological, they are cultural,” said Mr. Bittman. “Virtualization forces users to let go of the physical implementations of their services, and deal with their provider in terms of service levels and results. When a provider becomes a cloud-computing provider, users need to do a more complete job of describing their requirements in service terms.”

Published Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:12 PM by David Marshall
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