IT Managers Pinpoint Key Issues in Virtualizing a Data Center

Independent Oracle Users Group members reveal that the thorniest issues involved in transforming an older data center or building a new one lie with C-level executives protecting tight budgets and software vendors that don't support their applications on virtualized servers.

Results of a survey on virtualization practices released April 14 by the Independent Oracle Users Group didn't unearth a lot of new information, but it did put the spotlight squarely on where the main problems lie when it comes to virtualizing an IT system.
The survey of 381 enterprise data center decision makers supported already well-known ideas about the continual increase in structured and unstructured enterprise data and that virtualized systems invariably save time, power and money once they're deployed.
However, respondents also revealed where the thorniest issues lie in transforming an older data center or building a new one.
"Virtualization has become a significant asset for IT, reducing time and cost of deploying new servers. However, the greatest challenge has been resistance from software venders [reluctant] to support their applications on virtualized servers," one respondent said.
"I certainly believe that IT virtualization makes it easy to manage databases more efficiently and effectively," wrote another respondent. "However, we need to convince our top management-the decision-making point-with return on investment, the cost savings in hardware and reduced administration costs."
Finding good people with the right skills for the new generation of systems is another recurring problem, according to the report.
Organizational challenges increasingly arise as participants plan to implement various virtualization strategies, analyst Joseph McKendrick wrote in his executive summary.
"Three out of four respondents say tight budgets are the greatest issue their IT operation currently faces. Even when the economy improves and budgets do get more flush, there will still be challenges facing IT and data managers.
"Even at a time when hiring is slow, more than four out of 10 say they can't find the right skills to address their current requirements," McKendrick wrote.
Respondents discussed and provided feedback on a variety of issues, ranging from cost savings to organizational adaptation. The survey found that most organizations have put some kind of server virtualization into operation-whether in testing or production-and about half are considering database virtualization to increase the value of their data infrastructure.
Database instances skyrocketing
Other highlights from the IOUG report:

"-About 80 percent reported that the number of database instances within or across their companies have increased over the past year.-Traditional Unix is still a strong choice of architecture for respondents, but many are moving to x86-type commodity platforms.-Respondents who are embracing high levels of virtualization are more likely to be expanding their production database environments.-Virtualization is more prevalent in data development environments than production settings. About half of respondents were able to increase development database deployments with virtualization."

"Organizations are relying on the quality and availability of data to better compete on analytics in the global economy," IOUG president Ian Abramson said. "But this study confirms tight budgets and skills constraints are putting the squeeze on managing the situation. Three out of four respondents say this is the greatest issue their IT operation currently faces."
IOUG offers resources and education for Oracle technologists covering enterprise platforms. The next opportunity will be multiple virtualization sessions at the Collaborate10 IOUG Forum, scheduled for April 18 to 21 in Las Vegas.
At that event IOUG will offer attendees information about topics such as VMware, Sun Microsystems virtualization, virtualized environments, business intelligence, databases, security and aligning IT with business.
The survey, "Toward a Smarter Information Foundation: 2010 IOUG Enterprise Platform Decisions Survey," was conducted for the IOUG by Unisphere Research in November 2009 and was sponsored by VMware. The data is a result of 381 responses that were collected from IOUG's members.
The complete 31-page survey and executive summary are available to all members of the IOUG at this site.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...