Ebb and Flow of Virtualization Implementations

August 27th, 2010

Gartner says that just 16% of data center loads are virtualized, and in a recent InformationWeek Analytics survey found that 35% of respondents say they expect to virtualize less than 25% of their data centers by 2011. That finding reflects either a less optimistic or more realistic assessment than survey respondents exhibited last year, when only 22% took that stance.  Server consolidation remains the top organizational driver for virtualization.   It is important to keep these particular statistics in mind when reading about the panacea posed by Cloud Computing.

The reasons to virtualize data centers have remained somewhat constant.  As shown in the InformationWeek Analytics survey below using virtual instances for improved availability, disaster recovery, and faster deployment of new services have remained the top reasons.  Cost was in the top three reasons.

Regardless of the drive to virtualize, reality on the state of management processes and tools for virtual environments seem to get in the way of attaining nirvana.  In effect, efforts towards further virtualization will slow until some basic management processes mature and monitoring tools that cross multiple platforms become more available and usable.  Some of the major stumbling blocks to surmount are:

  1. Companies report that virtualization sprawl can be just as bad if not worse that the server sprawl everyone ranted about in the past.  Keeping track of virtual instances and licensing issues are just as important with virtual servers as with physical servers.
  2. Hardware utilization split across a growing number of virtualized server instances generally means overall performance for the chassis goes down.
  3. Monitoring systems remain somewhat rudimentary and management processes that worked for mainframes and servers lag behind in adoption for virtual service instances.
  4. Knowledgeable staff supporting virtual servers and storage are hard to retain.  It is easier for them to find employment in new companies even in this depressed economy.

These somewhat sobering facts will slowly change in 2011 and beyond.  Remember that cloud computing environments face the same challenges from both a management and service delivery perspective.  Keep this in mind when negotiating.

Let Daniel L. Ruggles  and the team at PM Kinetics, LLC help you navigate the complexities of IT Governance, Cloud Computing, Sourcing & Capital Planning, Vendor Management, IT Security, and Infrastructure planning & execution.  For more information on our technical consultancy services, contact or call PM Kinetics today at (678) 528-7399.