Organisations Not Fully Exploiting Virtualisation Benefits

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

New research has found that many British firms are not fully realising the benefits of virtualisation, due to a lack of skills and management tools

Many British businesses are missing out on the benefits of virtualisation deployments, according to new research from IT services provider Computacenter.

It blames a lack of internal skills and management tools, as well as understanding of the technology.

The survey of more than 130 IT decision makers across UK enterprises, found that only 6 percent of firms are fully achieving ROI (return on investment) from server projects, and 4 percent from virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

It seems that poor planning is partly to blame, as 39 percent of IT decision makers have no virtualisation strategy in place, even though 90 percent consider it important to help improve IT cost effectiveness.

Earlier this week, Gartner said that virtualisation is a top ten strategic technology which will impact the enterprise over the next three years. So any lack of understanding about such a core technology among British enterprises is alarming.

The survey also found that British organisations seem to ill-equipped to cope with the virtualisation trend. “There is a stark lack of the tools needed to deliver effective virtualisation deployments, with almost a third (29 percent) saying they don’t have sufficient end-to-end management to allow them to effectively control and monitor virtual environments,” said Computacenter.

It also said that almost half (41 percent) of IT decision makers are considering outsourcing virtual desktops to a third party supplier to bolster their in-house skills.

“It is disappointing to see so much unfulfilled potential from a technology that can vastly improve resource utilisation and business flexibility,” said Terry Walby, Director at Computacenter. “Organisations need to change the way they think about IT and consider end-to-end virtualisation solutions that will reduce total cost of ownership and management complexity due to its centralised management.”

Somewhat predictably, the survey found that server virtualisation is the most widely adopted (63 percent), followed by virtual storage (26 percent), desktop virtualisation (18 percent), and finally virtual networking (15 percent).

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There also seems to be an element of confusion surrounding cloud computing. The survey found that virtualisation is considered very important by 61 percent of IT decision makers, whereas 50 percent don’t know how important cloud computing is, or believe it to be of little or no importance to help improve the operation and cost effectiveness of their IT environment over the next two years.

“The models for the future lie in virtualisation on demand, the cloud and self-service,” Walby said. “And companies are already closer to these models than they think. Those doing it on the cheap, however, will find that the adoption rate is slow and the risks are high. It is much better to invest in the right tools and services now to do the job right for the specific needs of the business.”