Currently only about 16 percent of workloads are running on virtual machines, according to Gartner. But that will jump to 50 percent by the end of 2012, and a key driver of the move will be SMBs, which are seeing price points drop far enough to enable them to take advantage of virtualization, analysts say at the annual Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. The Gartner analysts also caution businesses of all sizes to start small, but to keep thinking ahead.
Businesses aren't using server virtualization to the extent that many people
might think, but use of the technology is going to grow rapidly, according to
At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Oct. 21 in Orlando,
Fla., analysts said only 16 percent of
current IT workloads are running on virtual machines. However, that's expected
to increase to 50 percent by the end of 2012, and use of VMs will grow most
quickly among small and midsize businesses.
Enterprises jumped on the virtualization bandwagon earlier than SMBs as they
sought to consolidate servers, cut power costs and save on data center floor
space, according to Gartner analyst Tom Bittman. However, by the end of 2010,
there will be greater penetration of VMs among businesses with 100 to 999
employees than among the Global 500 enterprises.
"For years the entry point was simply too high for small
enterprises," Bittman said in a statement. "But increased competition
by server vendors has enabled smaller firms to embrace virtualization."
He said businesses large and small should take a
cautious approach to virtualization,
starting small. Doing so reduces risks
and offers businesses time for a learning curve, as well as giving them a good
foundation on which to grow.
Businesses also need to plan ahead for the changes-to both management and
processes-that virtualization brings.
Bittman pointed out that virtualization is a way into cloud computing, but
isn't cloud computing itself. It creates the changes required for cloud
"What many organizations fail to recognize about
virtualization is that the most important changes aren't technological, they
are cultural," Bittman said. "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."