Server Virtualisation Widespread Among Enterprises, Survey Finds

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A Symantec survey has revealed the current state of server and storage virtualisation among enterprises

Server virtualisation is widespread among enterprises, according to a recent survey on virtualisation and cloud computing from Symantec.

Of the technologies evaluated in the survey – which examined how organisations plan to move business-critical initiatives to virtual and hybrid cloud computing environments – server and storage virtualisation are the most mature with 45 and 43 percent of enterprises implementing, respectively.

Private storage-as-a-service is the least mature, with 36 percent adopting.

Expectations and Reality

Symantec’s 2011 Virtualisation and Evolution to the Cloud Survey highlighted topics including server, client and storage virtualisation; storage-as-a-service; and hybrid/private cloud technologies.

The results uncovered disparities between expectations and reality as enterprises deploy these solutions. CEOs and CFOs are concerned with moving business-critical applications into virtual or cloud environments due to challenges, including reliability, security, availability and performance. The survey was based on more than 3,700 respondents from 35 countries worldwide.

“Cloud computing represents a major shift within IT – changing from a traditional IT delivery to a service-provider model. Moving to the cloud is a complex evolution for many companies, and it’s essential that IT and executives are aligned on initiatives,” said John Magee, vice president of virtualisation and cloud solutions for Symantec. “Virtualisation is an enabler for private and hybrid clouds, and our survey shows that planning a seamless move is critical to achieving all the simplicity, affordability and efficiency that these environments have to offer.”

The survey indicated that organisations are utilised virtualisation for business-critical applications. Of enterprises that are implementing virtualisation, more than half (59 percent) plan to virtualise database applications in the next 12 months. Fifty-five percent plan to virtualise web applications, and 47 percent plan to virtualise email and calendar applications. Forty-one percent plan to virtualise ERP applications.

The survey also found that organisations are more slowly utilising hybrid/private cloud technologies for business-critical applications. An average of just 33 percent of business-critical applications such as ERP, accounting and CRM are in hybrid/private cloud environments. Respondents stated concerns over account, service or traffic hijacking; authentication vulnerabilities; access vulnerabilities; disaster recovery; and encryption.

Cost And Performance

As virtualisation and private cloud technologies become more widely adopted, the cost and performance of storage are becoming increasingly top of mind, the survey found.

More than half of the respondents (56 percent) said storage costs somewhat or significantly increased with server virtualisation. Of those in the process of virtualising storage, the top three reasons for deployment include reducing operating expenses (55 percent), improving storage performance (54 percent) and improving disaster recovery readiness (53 percent).

Seventy-six percent of enterprises that have implemented server virtualisation indicated that security was a somewhat/extremely large factor in keeping various constituents from being more confident about placing business-critical applications on virtualised servers. Sixty-three percent listed security as a significant/extreme challenge to implementing server virtualisation.

According to the survey findings, 46 percent of CFOs who are implementing hybrid/private clouds are less than “somewhat open” to moving business-critical applications into those environments. Forty-four percent of CEOs are cautious about moving these applications. Main concerns cited about virtualisation and hybrid cloud deployments are reliability (78 percent), security (76 percent) and performance (76 percent).

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