HP & CIO Magazine’s New Virtualization Survey

HP LogoHP Software & Solutions recently conducted a global CIO survey with CIO Magazine on virtualization trends.  Shay Mowlem, Director Virtualization Strategy with HP, and Jim Malone, Editorial Director of CXO Media’s Custom Solutions Group, held a free webcast last week to cover the details of the survey.  If you missed it, you should certainly check out the replay.

The survey revealed some very interesting data, with a very well thought out instrument and a quality sample – 300 respondents (100 each from the US, EMEA, and Asia Pacific) with at least 500 employees in the US (250 in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India), and all with a current or planned investment in server virtualization.

A number of data points stand out for me:

  • The balance of Test/Dev implementations vs. Production continues to reflect EMA data. While production is still lagging behind test and dev as a use case, virtualization for mission-critical production is only slightly behind test and dev overall – and within the margin of error in most cases. This is good news, as enterprises clearly continue to grow real, production use cases.  It was interesting to see the differences between US and EMEA/APAC on this data point too, something EMA has not broken out in our published reports.
  • Microsoft and VMware are neck and neck in enterprises’ plans for server virtualization deployments over the next 18 months. I was called crazy when my 2008 EMA research pointed to a 32% growth rate for Microsoft Hyper-V into 2009, trailing only VMware; yet here we are in 2009, and according to this new study, through 2010/11 that is going up to 49%. So who is crazy now?
  • The strong growth for endpoint (desktop, application) virtualization reflects EMA data very well. It also highlights where enterprises and vendors should be heading with management technologies. It is still early days, but there are  a lot of gaps in integrated management for physical and virtual endpoints. So it is clear that this (probably even more than cloud service management) is going to be the next big problem for IT management.
  • The percentage of IT services planned to be virtualized over 18 months is growing well. However, just as EMA has predicted, virtualization will remain at only around 50% of service deployments even through 2011, so there will continue to be substantial physical deployments. This reinforces my consistent (and insistent) position that effective management of virtualization must integrate both physical and virtual systems management
  • Effective management continues to be elusive. EMA’s research showed this in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and this new data (with some reservations) shows the same. However, while tThe majority (64%) of enterprises rank themselves as extremely or very effective at managing virtualization, and believe they are getting better, I am skeptical. I contend many of those are overestimating their abilities (see my next points).
  • Virtualization clearly increases complexity, and is clearly more difficult to manage. I felt like I was tilting at windmills when I published this opinion in 2006 and in 2008, contrary to common perceptions that virtualization made everything easier. I was certainly a lone voice, but as it turned out, a prescient one. It is great to see it being recognized more broadly, finally.
  • Human issues continue to be major problems – especially skills and resourcing. EMA has found the same to be true, consistently, for many years. As recently as last week, I spoke with David Marshall of VMBlog and InfoWorld about how this continues to be a problem. This makes management tools even more important – to embed knowledge, define and execute policy, and automate routine work to free up resources.
  • These data points all increase my doubt that enterprises are really being better at managing their virtual environments. It seems contradictory to me that this survey shows virtualization is more complex, management is the top inhibitor to ROI, and skills are still lacking, yet most enterprises think they are being very or extremely effective at it. Even though tool usage is more integrated and automated than it has been, this does not make sense. I am instead convinced that enterprises are really overestimating their abilities.

This is just a very small sample of the interesting data in this survey – there are more than 50 pages in the slide deck I reviewed ahead of the webcast. I encourage you to check out the webcast.  If you get in touch with HP, I am sure they will point you in the right direction; or check back here, and I will post the link when it is up.


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