Forrester: Virtualisation Use Grows Sharply

The server virtualisation market is maturing, with a spike in virtual servers, says Forrester

The use of virtual server technology for production workloads has spiked over the past year, according to a new survey from IT researchers Forrester.

Forrester found that 91 percent of respondents to a survey published on Thursday were using server virtualisation for production workloads, up from 78 percent last year.

Increased maturity

The shift shows that the virtualisation market is maturing, said Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman, author of the study “Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011”.

“As maturity increases, more critical production applications are being deployed virtually, raising the stakes for getting the architecture right,” Reichman wrote.

He said web and infrastructure applications still top the list of applications running in virtual server environments but database and other more demanding applications are showing a rise.

“Microsoft SQL went from 53 percent virtual deployments to 68 percent, and email went from 29 percent to 51 percent,” Reichman wrote. “Even Oracle databases and applications appear to be on the rise in virtual deployments.”

Storage is one of the main current challenges, with companies reporting that it remains difficult to manage the storage for server virtualisation, Forrester said.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said one of their top storage challenges was effective capacity management, followed by controlling costs, at 39 percent, Forrester said.

Storage challenge

The complexity of the storage architecture for virtual server environments has led storage managers to look at alternative vendors. EMC is still the top storage vendor for virtual server environments, used by 44 percent of respondents, but 38 percent of respondents said they were using NetApp, up from 24 percent last year.

Forrester recommended that organisations use a single vendor for the storage that supports virtual servers, but Reichman suggested exploring alternative storage protocols to Fibre Channel, such as NFS.

“Infrastructure and operations professionals should re-evaluate vendor choices, single-source when possible, and explore alternative storage protocols — and NFS in particular — as cheaper, more efficient alternatives to Fibre Channel,” Reichman wrote.