Many IT Admins Still Not Sold on Virtualization

A survey reveals that less than half of respondents believe they are using it effectively.

Virtualization in the data center has broken out of the experimental and testing stage in many IT shops, but there are still a great many large-enterprise CIOs who are not completely sold on using it in daily production.
New research reported Feb. 12 that worldwide, 54 percent of large enterprises rate management of their virtual server environment as a critical or high IT priority. Yet only 45 percent think their companies are doing an effective job in this area.
The survey of 300 CIOs and other top IT executives at companies in the United States, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia Pacific) with more than $250 million in annual revenue revealed that servers, storage and applications are the most important areas to virtualize. Respondents reported more success in virtualizing storage systems than anything else.
Fifty-six percent of respondents are using multiple platforms/vendors for server virtualization management, while 35 percent are standardized on one platform. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents rated the importance of centralizing the management of multiplatform virtualized or physical environments as critical or very important.
"As to the report findings, well, that should be about as much of a surprise as a nor'easter hitting New England this time of the year," Greg Schulz, principal analyst and owner of StorageIO, told eWEEK.
"That being said, look at where and how the first wave of server virtualization is being directed-which is consolidation. In many cases, this is more of a tactical move versus longer-term strategic approach that virtualization in general is evolving toward," Schulz said.
That is, if virtualization is used as a management transparency layer for supporting routine data center use, it's for a long-term use; and if it functions simply as a consolidation play, it's a short-term use, Schulz said.
"Here's the key: Whoever controls the virtualization management controls the vendor lock-in," Schulz said. "If you are fine with that, then a single vendor like a CA, Hewlett Packard, IBM and others can give you the uber frameworks; however, be careful what you ask for."
The study, conducted independently and sponsored by software management provider CA, found that the most important capabilities when managing a server virtualization environment are performance/utilization, security and automation. It also revealed the top benefits experienced as a result of server virtualization initiatives are easier hardware provisioning and software deployment, more flexible development and testing environments, and optimizing system performance.
Security was cited as the most significant challenge when managing server virtualization initiatives.
Measuring return on investment is also a critical management challenge. Only 28 percent of respondents worldwide have a method in place to measure the ROI on virtualization solutions, yet 51 percent indicated they are extremely confident or confident that their companies are maximizing the return on virtualization investments.
An executive summary of the survey results is available here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...