Though the global recession is pounding much of the IT industry, one area that is expected to see strong growth over the next three to four years is virtual server management software, according to research firm IDC.
In a report released April 9, IDC analysts said they expect to see revenues in this space-which they admitted was a newly defined part of the market-from $871 million in 2008 to almost $2.3 billion in 2013.
Businesses are growing their use of virtualization technology in the data center, moving it out of the test-and-development arena and into production environments. That shift comes at the same time that the recession is forcing IT departments to find ways to maintain or grow their levels of service while having to cut their budgets.
These large-scale deployments of virtual machines will fuel the growth of the virtual server management software, particularly in Windows, Unix and Linux platforms, IDC said.
Initially, most of the attention will focus on products around change and configuration management, including discovery, configuration, provisioning, software distribution and change control, according to IDC analyst Mary Johnston Turner.
"While change and configuration management will rule in the short term, performance management and event automation management capabilities will eventually take hold," Turner said in a statement.
By 2013, the idea of virtual server management capabilities will begin to disappear, blending with core systems management platforms to become part of the fabric of dynamic data centers, she said.
Automation software already is becoming a key focus for many of the top players in the data center. Hewlett-Packard officials, in releasing enhancements to its automation software suite April 8, said that along with the benefits of reduced costs and increased agility, virtualization technology also adds complexity into the data center mix, which calls for greater automation capabilities.
Cisco Systems, which is looking to grow its Unified Computing System data center strategy, April 9 announced it was buying Tidal Software for $105 million, not only for its application management software but also for products that let users automate various practices and tasks.
In its study, IDC also found that many businesses have yet to integrate virtual and physical resource management processes, or aligned virtual server management practices with ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) management standards. IDC also said that as the virtual server management space matures, it will open up opportunities for new competitors.