SHARE, IBM's main user group, has released a new study that shows that adoption of virtualization within the enterprise is on the rise despite the fact that many businesses are pulling back on their IT spending due to the recession in the United States and the overall global economy. In addition, SHARE's report found that many of its users are interested in cloud computing, particularly among smaller companies that are looking for new ways to increase efficiency and cut costs.
A survey conducted by IBM's
main user group found that businesses
are still interested in investing in virtualization
despite the recession
in the United States, although some companies are still grappling with how best
to use the technology.
SHARE, an independent IBM user
community, issued the results of the study Jan. 26. This survey of 388 IT
professionals found that virtualization remains a technology still being
learned and understood by their organizations, although many view it as a
Looking toward the long-term,
respondents also seemed to be on the road to adopting cloud computing as a
viable virtualization strategy.
SHARE members were asked their opinion about cloud computing.
computing - seen by many in the IT world as the fast-emerging "next big thing"
- centralizes computing power, storage and applications in a single data
center, and then delivers these to users via the Internet. Late
last year, IBM offered IBM Resilient Cloud Validation Services
designed to test the functionality and security of other companies'
cloud computing systems; it joined others including Citrix, Microsoft
and Google in pursuing cloud-computing opportunities.
At the moment, only 2 percent
of those surveyed in the SHARE study were "significant users of external cloud
computing resources," and 5 percent used "cloud-computing resources for some
applications or systems."
Adoption levels may be low,
but the survey suggests a trend among smaller companies as more likely to use
commoditized applications, it's easier for them to outsource it to the cloud
than for larger companies," Jim Michael, vice president of SHARE, said in an
interview. "There's an interest in cloud computing, and many are planning for
it in their strategy, so they can move into it in a way that yields the best
The survey itself was
initiated in December after SHARE members expressed interest in the trends
surrounding virtualization, particularly in whether companies had begun using
"The anecdotal information
was interesting, and we wanted to have some hard data behind it," Michael said.
"The hard data validates the anecdotal data: virtualization is on the radar for
most enterprises, but the biggest challenge is the training and expertise of
Indeed, some 32 percent of
respondents felt that the greatest challenge towards their company's
virtualization was "lack of expertise/available skills." Many organizations
have also not fully embraced virtualization as part of a holistic IT strategy -
the survey describes most virtualization efforts as "scattered or spotty."
Given the overwhelming need
to cut operational and expansion costs in the midst of a recession, however, it
also seems that these same organizations are coming around to the need for
increased IT flexibility that virtualization offers.
While the percentage of
respondents' IT budgets dedicated to virtualization currently stands at 29
percent, nearly half of them predicted that the cash available for
virtualization would increase over the next 12 months (only 3 percent felt
it would decrease). In the survey, some 29 percent of business managers were
"very familiar" with the concept of virtualization, while 41 percent said they
were "somewhat familiar."
SHARE is currently advocating
virtualization and cloud computing as a way for IT departments to introduce an
added degree of efficiency, an idea of particular importance during an economic
"It's more likely that those
companies will make the strategic, considered investments in this sort of
technology, because they can demonstrate that it's something that'll help them
drive down the balance sheet," said Michael. "The concept of cloud computing
seems to be where virtualization was five years ago" with regard to its
position on the adoption curve.
Cloud virtualization may not
be explosive short-term, Michel added, but will likely grow by leaps and bounds
over the next 18 to 36 months as people adopt the technology more rapidly.
In conjunction with IBM, SHARE has been offering a reduced rate to
students and people new to the profession at its upcoming Austin conference, as
part of helping impart the knowledge and training their survey shows will be
needed to fully integrate virtualization.