Regardless of size, most organizations are reaping the rewards, and addressing the challenges, of server virtualization.
Virtualization has received considerable coverage in the IT trade press over the past few years, but is virtual real for the majority of IT shops? The answer is clear: yes, it is. According to IDC, despite 2009 being a very tough year for the IT industry and the economy in general, the virtual machine software market grew by 1.4 percent to $1.8 billion that year. And a growing body of evidence shows that virtualization is being adopted by a large percentage of companies in all industries and in all but the smallest of organizations—and even in some of them as well.
The anticipated benefits—lower capital costs and reduced energy consumption—are also proving to be real. Furthermore, companies are finding that they can realize benefits beyond the obvious ones. As the technologies mature and organizations gain more experience and put virtualization to wider use, companies are achieving additional value. For example, many organizations have found that virtualization has contributed to IT efficiencies and has allowed them to bring projects to fruition more rapidly.
Nonetheless, at present, most servers do not run in virtualized environments. There are a variety of reasons for this, including a shortage of skills, a lack of system management tools that provide the functionality necessary to effectively manage and optimize virtualized environments, and the need to support legacy applications that run on platforms that can't be virtualized. Furthermore, even in those organizations that have overcome these challenges, most of them have not been at the virtualization game long enough to have virtualized their entire IT infrastructure.
In some areas, such as application performance, high availability, disaster recovery, and security, virtualization simultaneously presents both opportunities and challenges. Because virtualization is still a relatively young technology, some of these challenges and opportunities are only now being recognized and addressed.
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