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AMD's Margaret Lewis' 2010 Prediction, Truly Pervasive Virtualization Will Emerge

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Margaret Lewis, Product Marketing Director at AMD

My prediction: in 2010, Truly Pervasive Virtualization Will Emerge

Virtualization has been a technology at the top of the "hype cycle" now for several years. And for all the hype swirling around virtualization, it still remains somewhat on the fringe of mainstream. Gartner predicted server virtualization penetration would reach  20% in 2009, and similar figures exist for client virtualization, where a number of different types of deployments, including terminal services (now often referred to as remote desktop services), application streaming and operating system streaming, have seen moderate growth but not large scale adoption.

That said, multiple signs suggest that virtualization stands at a tipping point. In 2010, get ready to tip. And here's why:

Dollars and Sense

The past year's economic troubles have altered the landscape of IT spending, leaving no vendor or enterprise untouched. As reported by eChannelLine, a recent survey on IT spending conducted on behalf of Micro Focus suggests that professionals view gains in efficiency and cost savings as the two most important measures of ROI for IT projects. Moreover, 71 percent of respondents noted that IT will play a very important or somewhat important role in their company's competitive position following the economic downturn.

Bearing this in mind, as IT managers approach a refresh cycle in 2010 on their hardware, they will want to look to technologies that help them to maximize their operational cost and infrastructure resources.  Virtualization, which is effective in terms of hardware cost, related power and cooling costs, and from a manageability perspective, presents an extremely attractive solution.

Server Virtualization & the Refresh Cycle

Server virtualization in particular is most likely to get a bump from an upcoming IT refresh. IDC predicts that the server market is ready to undergo a "significant infrastructure refresh cycle," which will pave the way for server virtualization's move into the mainstream.  When moving to a virtualized solution, servers are often first thing company's upgrade - the low-hanging fruit of virtualization if you will. Although virtualization has only impacted a relatively small percentage of the actual deployed physical servers, there's now enough industry experience along with real world success stories of companies of all sizes implementing virtualization solutions which makes it far less daunting for a business to consider making the switch. Additionally, the momentum towards server virtualization hasn't slowed - even during the downturn. Of note, IDC reports that 16.5% of all servers that shipped in Q2 2009 were virtualized vs. 14.5% in Q2 2008. Virtualization has stayed a bright spot in terms of growth in a relatively stagnant market place.

Windows 7 & Client Virtualization

Further driving the IT refresh cycle is the launch of Windows 7, which stands to cause a ripple effect across the entire virtualization market. Windows XP mode available in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate versions will give a larger audience a serious taste of virtualization*, helping to catapult client virtualization into the mainstream  and create opportunities for hardware and software companies alike. Making virtualization a core feature of the client OS allows virtualization to be tested without requiring a business to buy into yet another infrastructure software. We also expect to see AMD technology partners like Microsoft, Citrix and VMware bringing to market more advanced, mature hosted client models that will better address the needs of specific market segments - like retail, health services, government, and education.


Developments in hardware and software aside, a far less tangible but still incredibly significant factor is also at work: an on-going demographic shift across the American workforce. Digital natives (people for whom digital technologies already existed when they were born) are entering the work force, and some are already assuming management roles. Although perhaps a somewhat oversimplified interpretation, their overall comfort and fluency with digital tools makes the transition to virtualization far less foreign and incomprehensible than it might be for an older generation of IT managers. 

Some industry leaders even view the demographic factor as the single most important force pushing virtualization into the mainstream. At the Software & Information Industry Association's OnDemand 2009 conference, Treb Ryan, CEO of cloud infrastructure provider OpSource, said: "For all of the economic advantages and business advantages to what's going on in cloud and SaaS, we believe the real driving factor that's driving adoption of these platforms is really a generation of users entering the workforce who spent their entire [lives] on the Internet."

Here at AMD, we're already beginning to see the roots of this industry-wide transition towards virtualization. As of late, some AMD customers have begun to implement virtualization-first policies, which state that all new infrastructure implementations should occur via a virtual machine unless the business unit or group can justify why it isn't an ideal solution. With these initial steps working in tandem with the factors outlined above, I fully expect that in 2010 virtualization will no longer be seen as a disruptive technology. We'll see virtualization in every corner of industry, implemented by every type of end user.

For more, check out AMD's virtualization blog:

About the Author

Margaret Lewis is a Product Marketing Director at AMD.  Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD's positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

* Windows® 7 capable PC required for full Windows 7 functionality. See

Published Thursday, December 10, 2009 5:41 AM by David Marshall
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