Forrester Finds SMBs Adopting Virtualization Technology

A Forrester Research report on emerging SMB hardware trends in 2008 and 2009 finds server virtualization is being implemented in a majority of midmarket companies. Another report uncovers a similar trend toward virtualization among enterprises.

A Forrester Research report titled "The State Of Emerging SMB Hardware Trends: 2008 to 2009" found server virtualization is being implemented in a majority of midmarket companies, while a similar, concurrently published report focused on enterprises uncovered a similar trend.

The survey results, based on interviews with 2,600 technology decision makers in the United States and Europe, covered topics such as x86 server virtualization adoption, cloud computing and alternatives to traditional PC technologies. The report found 53 percent of small and midsize businesses surveyed have already implemented x86 server virtualization or are doing so within the next 12 months, while 74 percent of SMB respondents said they hope to lower PC costs with alternative technologies such as various forms of desktop or client virtualization.

For more on Forrester Research findings on server virtualization, click here.

"These survey results demonstrate that firms large and small are in the midst of rethinking and overhauling IT infrastructure and client systems, with new approaches for greater flexibility, efficiency and performance," said Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Frank Gillett.

SMBs have virtualized about 36 percent of their operating system instances, the survey discovered, a percentage that is expected to climb: SMB respondents said they expect to virtualize 61 percent of all operating system instances within two years. Midmarket companies also showed growing interest in pay-per-use-hosting of virtual servers, one of many types of cloud services in the market. Two percent of SMBs surveyed have already implemented pay-per-use-hosting of virtual servers, and 2 percent more SMBs plan to do so within the next 12 months.

To read Sun CTO Greg Papadopoulos' take on the growth of virtualization and cloud computing, click here.

Despite the low percentage of SMBs currently implementing virtual services, 34 percent of SMBs are interested in cloud computing, the report found. However, 20 percent of respondents hadn't set aside budget resources to invest in cloud computing. That number is unlikely to decline, considering the state of the economy and an increased focus on security IT spending that is estimated to last for the duration of 2009.

A recent report from research company IDC suggests small business owners will likely spend IT budgets on more bread-and-butter issues such as security and storage rather than on emerging technologies. However, IDC said a heavy marketing push by vendors should heighten interest in virtualization among SMBs in the next 12 to 24 months.

Interestingly, when it comes to education and influences on purchasing decisions, enterprise and midmarket companies both said despite the hype about Web 2.0, IT buyers really just want to know what their closest associates think. Hardware decision makers at enterprises and SMBs reported that their peers and colleagues are the most valued traditional source of information for purchase decisions.