The number of North American enterprises and SMBs (small and midsize businesses) using virtualization technology has increased from 29 percent to 40 percent within the last two years, according to a new report by Forrester Research.
The study, written by analyst Frank Gillett, found that more companies know about virtualization and are now interested in the technology. The number of businesses that are aware of virtualization but are disinterested dropped from 23 percent to 17 percent, while those totally unaware of the technology fell from 19 percent to just 8 percent.
Among virtualization vendors, more than 50 percent of companies named VMware as the leading provider of virtualization technology. Microsoft, which produces its own Virtual Server software, was only mentioned by 9 percent of those companies in the study.
The study surveyed 1,267 enterprises worldwide–Forrester defined an enterprise as a company with more than 1,000 employees–as well as 503 SMBs in North America and Europe. The survey, which was conducted between May 2006 and August 2006, looked at how the market has changed since x86 server virtualization went mainstream in 2005.
Forrester, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., released the study on Feb. 9.
While VMware has been the clear market leader in virtualization since 2005, it has found itself in competition from not only Microsoft, but smaller companies such as Virtual Iron and other competitors that have started to use the open-source virtualization hypervisor Xen as a low-cost alternative.
These developments in the last two years have created a more crowded marketplace while increasing awareness among enterprises and SMBs of how virtualization can benefit a company.
"Marketing professionals across the technology industry are climbing on the server virtualization bandwagon to sell their products and need to know how awareness, interest and adoption are shaping the environment for their marketing efforts across firms of various sizes in regions across the world," Gillett wrote in the report.
In addition, new processor technology from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices has changed the market in the last two years, while storage virtualization has started to "take off," according to the report.
While North American companies have started to use more virtualization technology in the data center, European businesses have not been as eager to adopt. Across the pond, the number of businesses adopting virtualization remained flat at 23 percent but pilot programs increased from 6 percent to 12 percent.
In Asia, the number of businesses actually using virtualization remains flat but interest in the technology jumped from 8 percent to 35 percent between 2005 and 2006, according to the report.
In North America, the study found that SMBs trail enterprises in the deployment of virtualization, although some of the larger SMBs do have enough x86 servers to justify the investment.
As for vendors, 53 percent of businesses named VMware as the company they would consider for deploying virtualization for Intel-based servers. About 11 percent named Hewlett-Packard as the preferred vendor of choice, while IBM and Microsoft tied with 9 percent.
Dell was named by 8 percent of those surveyed.
These unusual results showed that companies may have confused server vendors with those companies that actually make the enabling virtualization technology. This could mean that even more companies use and are interested in VMwares software.
"Forrester believes that some respondents named the server vendors, eager resellers of VMwares software, rather than VMware itself," according to the report.
Lastly, the report also found that Microsofts Virtual Server software has not taken customers away from VMware. This is true for both businesses already using virtualization and those companies just starting to test the software within the data center.