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New EMA IT Virtualization Research Outlines Trends

As the Deployment of Virtualization Management Increases, So Do the Problems That Come Along With It

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) announced the release of its latest research report titled, "Virtualization and Management: Trends, Forecasts and Recommendations." EMA and its research director Andi Mann continue to identify trends, adoption patterns and pervasive marketing hype around one of 2008's technology stories.

"The promise of IT virtualization continues to be significant as it rightfully gains traction across servers, desktops, applications, networks, storage and more," said Mann. "This latest research report identifies what is really happening within the exploding virtualization marketplace, the impact it is having on IT professionals and the technology options that are available today."

When looking across all virtualization technologies, Enterprise Management Associates' research shows that VMware still has the highest overall market penetration. However, Microsoft continues to grow its market share and -- even before the formal release of Hyper-V -- is within 10 percent of VMware's lead. Citrix also poses a threat, coming in at 20 percent behind VMware, again with major product yet to be formally released.

Mann believes desktop virtualization will show the strongest growth of any virtualization technology during the next one to two years. However, the overall virtualization market will continue to be very healthy because, as this research reveals, enterprises are seeing substantial benefits in cost reduction, server consolidation, security improvement and more from virtualization technologies. The EMA study also clearly shows that virtualization is not just a test and development tool, finding that up to 75 percent of all enterprises are now using virtualization for production use cases -- indicating a steady increase in outcomes and confidence since 2006.

As virtualization proliferates, it will continue to deliver many valuable outcomes. However, most companies will face multiple barriers to success. Enterprise Management Associates' research shows that the largest challenges facing successful virtualization deployments lie with "human issues." Key among these are the unique political challenges that virtualization creates as a result of sharing data center resources, shifting responsibility and functionality of desktops or changing the way departments access applications, storage and networks.

In addition, companies face a potential skills crisis as they find it harder to attract and retain virtualization resources. In fact, enterprises have seen a 25 percent decrease in their ability to manage virtual environments adequately with the skills they have in place.

Complexity is also a critical issue in virtualization. EMA finds that the vast majority of organizations implement virtualization on multiple platforms, using multiple technologies, from multiple vendors -- adding multiple layers of complexity onto already complex physical systems. This study also shows convincingly that virtualization will not overtake existing architectures at least through 2010. "For the vast majority of enterprises, virtualization will coexist with physical deployments for the foreseeable future, so complexity will continue to be a major headache," said Mann.

As a result, more and more companies are realizing the difficulties of virtualization management. Every discipline associated with virtualization management was rated harder to use in 2008 than it was in 2006. Unfortunately, the research shows that tools for virtualization management are lagging behind market needs. In general, the tools available today do not manage well across the multiple complexities of platforms, technologies and vendors. The tools also do not integrate easily with the rest of the existing IT management functions, nor do they align well with current IT services business objectives.

All of these issues result in significant difficulties for enterprises deploying and managing virtualization. This in turn feeds a disturbing trend for virtualization to become over-hyped and EMA finds that, in some important areas, virtualization is starting to underachieve on key expectations.

"The key to success is to approach virtualization as a strategy, not just a series of projects, and to approach it with more realistic expectations," said Mann, "Companies need to adjust their goals, and find ways to deploy and manage virtualization in more effective ways. This report will help them to do exactly that."

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SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.

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