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Reports.InformationWeek.com Report ID: R3391011 A n a l y t i c s R e p o r t State of Virtualization: Diversity Breeds Complexity The launch of VMware’s latest flagship hypervisor raised more questions than answers. While VMware continues to redefine the virtualization game, rivals—mainly Microsoft and Citrix but also Oracle, Red Hat and even Ubuntu—are vying for market share. And enterprise IT is obliging. But will this platform heterogeneity hamper our quest for pervasive virtualization? By Jake McTigue October 2011 $99

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Page 1: State of Virtualization - Premier Knowledge Solutions · VMware vSphere 5 Microsoft Hyper-V R2 Microsoft Hyper-V Citrix XenServer 5.0 Citrix XenServer 5.6 Citrix XenServer 5.5 Oracle

R e p o r t s . I n f o r m a t i o nWe e k . c o m

Report ID: R3391011

A n a l y t i c s R e p o r t

S t a t e o f V i r t u a l i z a t i o n :Divers i ty Breeds Complexity

The launch of VMware’s latest flagship hypervisor raised more

questions than answers. While VMware continues to redefine

the virtualization game, rivals—mainly Microsoft and Citrix but

also Oracle, Red Hat and even Ubuntu—are vying for market

share. And enterprise IT is obliging. But will this platform

heterogeneity hamper our quest for pervasive virtualization?

By Jake McTigue

O c t o b e r 2 0 1 1$ 9 9

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S t a t e o f V i r t u a l i z a t i o nT

AB

LE

O

F

CONT

ENTS

4 Author’s Bio

5 Executive Summary

6 Research Synopsis

7 Keep Your Eye on the Main Problem

10 Master Disaster Via Automation

14 Private Cloud as a Virtualization Driver

16 Standards In Play

16 Sprawl Still a Problem

19 The Density Conundrum

22 How Not to Introduce a New Product

23 Not All About Servers

27 Microsoft PCoIP: Promises, Promises

30 Management Trends

33 Making the Business Case

35 Conclusion

38 Appendix

42 Related Reports

2 October 2011 © 2011 InformationWeek, Reproduction Prohibited

A n a l y t i c s R e p o r t s

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TA

BL

E

OF

CONT

ENTS

7 Figure 1: Current Percentage of Workloads Running on Virtualized Hardware

9 Figure 2: Use of Virtualization Hosting Platforms

11 Figure 3: Importance of Virtualization Features

12 Figure 4: Single vs. Multiple Hypervisors

13 Figure 5: Private Cloud Use

15 Figure 6: Private Cloud Adoption Drivers

17 Figure 7: Servers Hosting VMs in Production

18 Figure 8: Planned Virtualization

20 Figure 9: Total Cores Per Virtualization Host

21 Figure 10: Physical Memory Dedicated to Each Virtual Host

22 Figure 11: Perception of Licensing Changes

24 Figure 12: Virtualization Drivers

25 Figure 13: Use of Virtualization Technologies

26 Figure 14: Importance of Virtualization Technologies to IT Strategy

29 Figure 15: Virtualization Success Metrics

30 Figure 16: Virtual Machine and Hypervisor Host Management

31 Figure 17: Use of VM Mobility Tools

32 Figure 18: Reasons For Using Multiple Hypervisors

33 Figure 19: Virtualization ROI

34 Figure 20: Most Important Business Goals Delivered Through Virtualization

36 Figure 21: Impact of Virtualization on IT Team Structure

38 Figure 22: Company Revenue

39 Figure 23: Company Size

40 Figure 24: Job Title

41 Figure 25: Industry

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Jake McTigueInformationWeek

Analytics

Jake McTigue is the IT manager for Carwild Corp. and a senior

consulting network engineer for NSI. He is responsible for IT

infrastructure and has worked on numerous customer projects as

well as ongoing network management and support throughout

his 10-year consulting career.

Jake has been involved in server virtualization since 2002 and has been a

project lead on consolidation and virtualization projects for public safety,

education and private-sector applications. He has been a guest speaker for a

major virtualization vendor and has been instrumental in articulating the

benefits of virtualization for organizations all over the Northeast.

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Think VMware owns the enterprise virtualization market? Not so fast.While IT pros love VMware vSphere 5’s functionality, they’re not so keenon the license structure, even after the company backpedaled from arecent price hike. And that’s given rivals a golden opportunity to establishfootholds in the enterprise data center, beyond just desktop virtualizationand niche applications. To see what it will take for Citrix and Microsoft, aswell as Oracle, Red Hat and Ubuntu, to capitalize on VMware’s missteps,and to take the pulse of the market and technology as a whole, we fieldedtwo virtualization surveys in August.

In our InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey, we polled396 business technology professionals at companies with more than 50employees on a variety of topics. Does IT see Hyper-V and Xen challeng-ing VMware’s dominance on data center servers? Is standardization anachievable goal? Are we still experiencing VM sprawl? Are vendor APIsrobust enough to support next-generation automation projects, and can ITteams get up to speed on the skill sets required for automation?

We’ll explore, with a view to the real endgame: abstract data streams,processes and hardware from the workloads that they support to enableprivate clouds, defined as an internal network that combines compute,storage and other data center resources with a high level of virtualization,hardware integration/consolidation, automation, monitoring and orchestra-tion. The goal is improved resilience and ease of service activation, and48% of Virtualization Management Survey respondents are buying into thevision now. But getting there with few standards and a lack of cross-disci-pline expertise is going to be tough.

We also dug into attitudes on VMware’s controversial pricing decision.Our InformationWeek VMware vSphere 5 Survey, which we explore indepth here, shows 93% of 410 respondents use some version of vSphere,and most weren’t happy with the virtual machine memory-consumptionlicensing constraint. The company quickly backpedaled, but reaction tothe misstep was highly negative. Yes, VMware continues to define enter-prise-class server virtualization. But IT pros have long memories, tightbudgets and a big job ahead of them. It’s going to be an interesting year.

Exec

utive

Sum

mar

y

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Rese

arch

Syn

opsis

Survey Name: 2011 InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey Survey Date: August 2011 Region: North AmericaNumber of Respondents: 396 from organizations with 50 or more

employees

Purpose:To determine the state of virtualization use and management in the enterprise.

Methodology:InformationWeek surveyed business technology decision-makers at NorthAmerican companies with 50 or more employees. The survey was con-ducted online, and respondents were recruited via an email invitation con-taining an embedded link to the survey. The email invitation was sent toqualified InformationWeek subscribers.

ABOUT US | InformationWeek Reports’ experienced analysts arm business technology

decision-makers with real-world perspective based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative

research, business and technology assessment and planning tools, and technology adoption best

practices gleaned from experience.

If you’d like to contact us, write to managing director Art Wittmann at [email protected],

content director Lorna Garey at [email protected] and research managing editor Heather Vallis

at [email protected]. Find all of our reports at www.reports.informationweek.com.

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Keep Your Eye on the Main ProblemThe question isn’t whether near-fully virtualized enterprise data centers will become the norm.They will, and sooner than you may think. Memory and CPU constraints are dropping likeflies, and even the most backward application support agencies are catching up. Microsoft’s lat-est consumer operating system, Windows 8, ships straight from the factory with a built-inhypervisor layer. VMware’s power play has created opportunities for competitors to shake upthe market and nudge adoption into hyperdrive.

But here’s the thing: You have bigger worries than how soon you can get 50% or 75% or 99%of your servers virtualized.

While it’s possible to mix and match platforms and achieve a high level of virtualization for lessmoney, it’s a hazardous time in the evolution of this technology. Standards are scarce indeed,

Data: InformationWeek VMware vSphere 5 Survey of 410 business technology professionals, August 2011

What percentage of your workloads currently runs on virtualized hardware?Current Percentage of Workloads Running on Virtualized Hardware

26% to 50%

11% to 25%

29%

Under 10%7%

R3350811/5

C

[

13%

29%

22%More than 75%

51% to 75%

Figure 1

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making every purchasing decision a dicey proposition. Further, it’s extraordinarily important tounderstand both how any given infrastructure component operates independently and how itinteracts with every other component. Since pervasive virtualization has increased operationalcomplexity exponentially, this can be an extraordinarily tough thing to get your arms around.IT teams looking to conventional network and systems management products for help are find-ing these expensive tools wholly inadequate to the task at hand.

“The only savings realized from virtualization is fewer physical servers,” says one of the 396business technology professionals from organizations with 50 or more employees responding toour InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey. “Costs have increased via moreexpensive servers with bigger I/O and more memory, added cost of the hypervisor, and a muchmore difficult time to resolve problems when they occur.”

While VMware’s licensing change was met with such hostility and derision from customersthat the company increased the memory constraints granted per core substantially, effectivelyshelving the new pricing program for the time being, memory density per host machine con-tinues to skyrocket in tandem with rising semiconductor density, à la Moore’s Law. That’s sureto bring VMware’s new vRAM constraint back into the realm of dollars and cents very quickly.Now, VMware continues to operate from a very privileged position with regard to adoptionand market share. It’s the go-to name when IT talks enterprise-class server virtualization. Butat some point, Hyper-V is going to be good enough, and there goes complexity through theroof again.

Some of you are no doubt thinking, well, we can live with some complexity in exchange forhedging our lock-in bets and saving money. Right now, 36% of respondents to our Virtual -ization Management Survey have secondary hypervisors in use at their organizations; many ofthese shops are making use of desktop virtualization. Citrix and Microsoft are working hard toclose the gap in providing basic enterprise-class server virtualization features, such as highavailability and live machine migration. However, mixing production hypervisors almost guar-antees that you won’t have a unified, automated disaster recovery scheme. And it can requiresome deep expertise if you want one policy to govern all of your systems, a common goal.

To find out how big a deal these and other considerations are, we asked respondents to rate adozen virtualization features based on importance. High availability is cited as the single mostcritical feature, with price coming in a very close second. This is interesting because HA fea-

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Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

VMware vSphere 4

VMware vSphere 5

Microsoft Hyper-V R2

Microsoft Hyper-V

Citrix XenServer 5.0

Citrix XenServer 5.6

Citrix XenServer 5.5

Oracle VM

Mainframe-based x86 virtualization

Xen (open source)

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2

Ubuntu KVM

Parallels’ Virtuozzo

To what extent are the following virtualization hosting platforms in use at your organization?Use of Virtualization Hosting Platforms

Primary platform Secondary platform Evaluating

67%

23%

24%

37%

57%15%

6%

7%

11%

3%

33%

17%

9% 71%

84%7%

12%

4%

8%

5%

74%6% 8% 12%

5% 83%

82%4%

6%

7%

6%

7%

3% 89%

80%2%

6%

12%

2%

6%

84%2% 9%5%

2% 89%

94%1%

5%

3%

4%

2%

No use

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Figure 2

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tures with a reasonable price tag are available in both Microsoft Hyper-V R2 and CitrixXenServer. VMware also offers HA in its entry-level packages; however, it neglected to bundlefeatures like DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler, for machine load balancing) with its lower-cost vSphere Essentials, making it an incomplete offering.

Other factors driving platform choice are live virtual machine migration (available from allmajor vendors), fault tolerance, load balancing and virtual switching/networking. Until recently,fault tolerance was a VMware-only feature. In fear of losing market share, both Citrix andMicrosoft cozied up to third-party code developer Marathon Technologies to provide fault tol-erance for their platforms. The net result is that all three big names in virtualization have FTavailable now.

Meanwhile, proprietary features, like VMware Storage DRS, which load balances data-store I/O,and Storage VMotion, landed in last place. If it’s bells and whistles like these that VMware isusing to justify much higher licensing costs, our respondents aren’t buying it.

“VMware’s price increases for vSphere 5 are disappointing,” says one respondent. “As virtualiza-tion becomes more pervasive and VMware can spread development costs across far more users,I’d have expected costs to go down, not up. With steady improvements to Hyper-V and Xen,and Oracle’s integration of Virtual Iron into their VM product, we have lots of alternatives toconsider.”

Master Disaster Via AutomationAt first, we were surprised that automated disaster recovery was the third most highly ratedfeature in terms of desirability. Currently, only VMware offers a reasonably mature product inthis area, its Site Recovery Manager, but even VMware’s offering is built around workflow andquasi-automation. While it does facilitate disaster recovery right out of the box by providing anintegrated “runbook” that can check and return on at least some of the variables present duringa real disaster scenario, it certainly won’t fully automate disaster recovery without a seriousimplementation and integration effort.

Then it hit us: Rising demand for automated DR speaks volumes about what IT expects out ofnext-generation virtualization rigs. SRM aims to manage the big picture of disaster recovery

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4.3

4.2

3.9

3.9

3.7

3.6

3.5

3.4

Note: Mean average ratingsData: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

High availability

Affordability/price

Disaster recovery automation

Live virtual machine migration

Fault-tolerance (everRun VM, VMware FT)

Load balancing (DRS)

Virtual switching/networking

Automatic provisioning

Preferred management

Maximum memory per guest

Number of CPUs supported per guest

Proprietary functionality (e.g., VMware Storage DRS, VMware Storage VMotion)

3.4

3.3

3.3

3.3

Please rate the importance of the following virtualization features to your organization using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “not important” and 5 is “very important.”

Importance of Virtualization Features

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1 Not important Very important 5

Figure 3

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automation by integrating tightly with every component in the DR/BC stack, starting with stor-age replication. The goal of SRM is quite lofty—to provide fully managed and automatedfailover to a secondary site. This includes managing the state of replication, the virtualizationinfrastructure, connectivity and all the myriad other variables involved in a successful failover.

The key concepts: automation and integration. With SRM, VMware hopes to improve even fur-ther the already excellent value proposition of virtualization for DR/BC by adding automationto the mix. Unfortunately, a big part of the problem now is a serious lack of standardization.While it’s true that VMware, Citrix and Microsoft all have APIs available for their diverse virtu-alization portfolios, a lack of common standards and protocols makes integration efforts thatcross hardware and software API boundaries a very big deal. The major challenge inherent infailover infrastructure engineering is achieving it without substantial software development.

Automation would change the game, but unfortunately, there is no clear road map for an auto-

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Does your organization use more than one hypervisor in production?Single vs. Multiple Hypervisors

Yes; we use multiple hypervisors

No; we use one hypervisor

64%

36%

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Figure 4

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mated, pervasively virtualized infrastructure. Who makes your hypervisor? Storage arrays?Servers? All of these vendor differences inject additional, yes, complexity and make supplyinghard-cost numbers for automation projects nearly impossible. Setting up true automation thenbecomes a nightmare of unbudgeted expense, internecine warfare and unforeseen roadblocksas software development and a variety of data center professionals try to knit diverse hardwareplatforms, hypervisors and application stacks into a resilient and, in theory, fully hands-offinfrastructure.

The good news for IT is that vendors are starting to build in software API mechanisms tomake automation possible, given the will, resources and expertise. The bad news is that thecost of developing a fully automated infrastructure remains outside the reach of all but thelargest organizations, even if you can afford centralized storage, virtualization, load balancingand HA. Still, automation is an essential element of what we see as the ultimate goal of perva-sive virtualization: private clouds.

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Is your organization using or considering a private cloud?Private Cloud Use

Yes; it’s a low priority, but we’re making some progressYes; it’s a high priority and we’re

there or well along the way 9%

15%

5%

1%

Unlikely

No; we don’t see the value

What’s a private cloud?

Yes, but we are just starting

24%

13%

33%

Maybe; we’re still investigating

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Figure 5

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Private Cloud as a Virtualization DriverA basic dependency of a private cloud infrastructure is release from physical network and infra-structure constraints, so virtualization and this agile, shape-shifting service delivery model gohand in hand. Among our survey respondents, about half are working toward private cloudsnow; an additional 33% are investigating.

Not surprisingly then, given this level of interest and the tantalizing possibility IT will buy newgear to advance the private cloud vision, most major vendors are innovating. We see this ininterconnects, with the PCI-SIG’s SR-IOV protocol; in processors, with VT-x and AMD-V; instorage, with hybridized cache mechanisms; in storage controllers, with robust software APIs;in applications, with cloud delivery mechanisms, distributed processing and encapsulation; innetworking, with iSCSI/FCoIP; and in wide area networking, with VPLS and Cisco’s OTV(Overlay Transport Virtualization).

In short, your key vendors are working hard to deliver products that add to virtualization’score value proposition. This is both exciting and depressing for IT, because while new featuresthat solve business problems are always welcome, the Wild West nature of this market encour-ages competing approaches to the same problem—think DVD+R vs. DVD-R. That’s no way toadd agility, and it’s no way to instill confidence in the people paying the bills.

“Upper management, including within IT, has not fully grasped the concept of virtualization,”says one respondent. “Requirements for properly implementing a private cloud still get ques-tioned on an ROI-per-item-purchased basis, instead of the relative increase in capability thepurchase would provide for the users of the cloud.”

The top driver for respondents working toward private clouds is improved availability of appli-cations. In our experience, this is indeed how most private cloud initiatives are sold to thebusiness. The third and fourth virtualization success metrics, improved application uptime andefficiency, also tie directly into the application availability theme. Your end users want unre-stricted access to applications from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

What our respondents don’t care about in their cloudsmithing are compliance (no surprise)and chargeback. That automated provisioning of resources and consolidation came in at No. 3and No. 4, respectively, selected by about one-third of respondents, did surprise us somewhat.Most CIOs are too paranoid to use public cloud services because of the perceived risks around

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48%

37%

31%

30%

26%

23%

19%

18%

Note: Three responses allowedBase: 322 respondents at organizations using or investigating a private cloudData: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Improved availability of applications

Operational savings

Automated provisioning of resources

Consolidation initiatives

Better disaster recovery capabilities

Capital cost savings

Greater ability to meet variable workload requirements

Simplified infrastructure/less system variations

Simplified data center maintenance

Mobile device access

Data warehouse initiatives

Compliance initiatives

Improved resource monitoring and chargeback capabilities

Other

16%

14%

11%

8%

3%

2%

What are the primary drivers behind private cloud adoption and deployment in your organization?Private Cloud Adoption Drivers

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Figure 6

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data sharing, so in our opinion, multitenancy is no virtue for private clouds, either. And hon-estly, should anyone really be up for empowering finance to spin up eight or 10 Oracle serverswhenever it feels like it? We don’t think so. We saw VMware attempt to push self-service provi-sioning with Lab Manager a few years ago, and you know what? Nobody got the value proposi-tion. Nearly 70% still don’t.

Standards In PlayWhat IT does see value in is standards. So it’s unfortunate that it’s just not in vendors’ bestinterests to launch collaboration projects with competitors; the open and uncontrolled natureof the current market directly opposes efforts to standardize and develop common methodolo-gies. A lack of a clear leader in certain industries, like VDI and I/O and network virtualization,also means development efforts are fragmented across hypervisor platforms instead of uni -formly advancing on a single platform, despite VMware’s market-share advantage.

However, two standards have managed to become reality.

The Open Virtualization Format is essentially just a nonproprietary way of storing virtualmachine disk files. VMware, Citrix and Microsoft use proprietary formats for virtual machines;however, products from all three vendors can read and import OVF files. OVF provides a con-venient format for moving machines to a different platform by exporting them to an OVFpackage first

The other extant standard is VMAN, a virtualization management standard developed by theDMTF, a virtualization standards body with broad industry support. VMAN purports to sim -plify virtualization management dramatically by abstracting common management tasks via asingle protocol; however, we have yet to see usable VMAN-based products, despite the“launch” of the standard in 2008. Hopefully, vendors are just slow. Or, maybe it’s time forenterprise IT groups to start applying pressure.

Sprawl Still a ProblemComing back to our Virtualization Management Survey, we see clear increases in virtualmachine density per host, especially when we look at trends in the average number of VMs runon each production virtualization host server between August 2010 and August 2011. Even in

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entry-level virtualization rigs, VM density is climbing. Our statistics, however, show no increasein the six-to-nine-VMs-per-host bracket, which is interesting.

We also saw a net decline of 16 points in the one-to-five bracket and a net increase of 15points in the 10-to-20 VM bracket.

As one would expect, we’ve seen a drop in new physical server sales in tandem with an overallincrease in the number of VMs, showing that organizations are taking a reasonable approach tovirtual scale-out by leveraging physical scale-up. Still, this is absolutely explosive VM expansionin the typical data center. Either IT teams are bringing their management A games, or serversprawl is becoming a methodology of its own—and we’ve seen enough to guess it’s the latter.

2%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

1

2 to 5

6 to 9

10 to 20

21 to 40

More than 40

9%

22%31%

25%25%

30%15%

13%13%

8%7%

On average, how many VMs run on each virtualization host server in your production environment(s)?Servers Hosting VMs in Production

2011 2010

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Figure 7

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1%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

0%

Less than 10%

10% to 24%

25% to 49%

50% to 74%

75% to 90%

Greater than 90%

4%

7%11%

12%20%

17%23%

24%19%

25%13%

14%10%

What percentage of your organization’s production servers do you expect to have virtualized by the end of next year?

Planned Virtualization

2011 2010

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Figure 8

VM sprawl has been and continues to be a serious problem, despite efforts to raise popularawareness, like the ZombieVM.org Twitter and ad campaigns. The ease of deploying virtualizedmachines creates a tendency to spin up VMs in response to any business need. It’s all too easyto allow these machines to linger, powered on and draining resources—maybe the campaignshould have used vampires instead of zombies.

It’s clear that VM sprawl is here to stay. It’s also clear from our vSphere 5.0 survey that respon-dents intend to further increase density of both memory and CPU configurations in future

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deployments. Stopping sprawl can be a difficult proposition, but we do have a couple of tipsthat may help:

� Inventory VMs and link every single one to a purpose. If you can’t, shut it down. If it’sactive, whoever was using it will complain soon enough. If no one claims ownership, move itto a slow SATA data store and delete it after a month.

� Roll out test and development VMs in a test resource pool. When it comes time toruthlessly trim, start here.

� Think before you deploy. Can you consolidate services on a single VM? Is it advantageousto do so? Will it cost you anything? If you don’t need additional machines, don’t roll themout in the first place.

ZombieVM.org is also a great source of information on combating resource use by deadmachines.

The Density ConundrumIn our virtualization surveys as well as our annual State of Server Technology poll, we’re seeinga hardware tendency toward higher core densities at less overall speed per core. This is hap-pening because semiconductor engineers are running up against basic thermodynamic andelectrical constraints as they try to continually boost the hertz output of individual cores. Ashift toward higher densities via multithreading instead of monolithic cores is well comple-mented by virtualization and its ability to easily schedule workloads across multiple cores.

Furthermore, application development in the modern world is almost unilaterally multicore-architecture-capable, ensuring that applications will scale right along with the number of cores.The latest generation of Intel E7 processors features up to 10 cores per chip, while the AMDOpteron 6100 series, dubbed rather appropriately “Bulldozer,” offers gear with 12-core modelspresently, with 16-core chips now shipping to OEMs; we expect to see systems by year’s end,

While discussions about multithreading may seem old hat, Microsoft only just finished updat-ing the .NET/Visual Studio components to natively include multicore without express program-matic call outs. This means that new applications developed in Visual Studio 2010 and greater

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will be multicore-capable when using stock functions. Programmers still need to engineer mul-tithreading on custom code, but Microsoft’s move greatly increases the likelihood of futureWindows code being multithread compatible.

Furthermore, processor core density per socket isn’t the only type of density increase we’re see-ing; server memory is becoming denser too, with deployments of upward of 128 GB of RAMper box becoming more and more common. In a 2U rack-mount server with four OpteronBulldozer chips at 16 cores per socket and 256 GB of RAM, one could run 64 virtual machineswith dedicated CPUs and 4 GB of RAM each. The actual maximum density workload on such abox could be into the hundreds of VMs with memory overallocation and page sharing.

Higher hardware resource density per server enables more aggressive consolidation ratios andsmaller energy/cooling footprints, while raising the ceiling on individual VMs helps alleviatecompatibility issues when virtualizing single, heavily utilized physical servers.

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

What is your average number of total cores per virtualization host?Total Cores Per Virtualization Host

2 to 4More than 846%

1

5 to 8

18%

32%

4%

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Figure 9

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The 410 business technology professionals responding to our VMware vSphere 5 Survey reportsome eye-opening numbers for memory per host machine, with 54% citing memory figuresbetween 32 GB and 128 GB per host, and 18% at 128 GB to greater than 256 GB per host. Ofthe former set of respondents, 56% are using dual-socket, not quad-socket, systems; at thehigher end, it’s 38%. This is logical because continuing increases in the number of cores persocket have made processor resources fairly scalable for modern maximum memory figureswithout having to update the socket count.

Being that memory is the primary VM constraint and that memory numbers are climbing sohigh, VMware’s new licensing model seems particularly unwelcome, even with its dramaticallyraised limits; see story, next page.

One area in which the trend toward more memory does concern us is storage. In memory con-figurations of 256 GB or greater with page sharing and overallocation, VM-to-host ratios may

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

What is the average amount of physical memory you dedicate to each virtual host?Physical Memory Dedicated to Each Virtual Host

5 GB to 8 GB

4 GB or less 17%

65 GB to 128 GB

More than 128 GB

9 GB to 20 GB

21 GB to 32 GB

33 GB to 64 GB

19%

9%

16%15%

11%

13%

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Figure 10

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Base: 343 respondents familiar with, or who have heard about, vSphere 5’s licensing policy changesData: InformationWeek VMware vSphere 5 Survey of 410 business technology professionals, August 2011

Which of the following best describes your view of vSphere 5’s licensing policy changes?Perception of Licensing Changes

A deal breaker

27%

18%

R3350811/9

14%

New model is great; it’ll help us adopt vSphere 5

9%

It is somewhat of a deterrent to adoption

It’ll have no effecton our adoption plans

25%5%

A major deterrent

New model is good; it should make it easier

to adopt vSphere 5

Don’t know enoughabout it to say

2%

Figure 11

We got a strong response from our readers regarding

VMware’s licensing for vSphere 5.0. Most knew the details

of the change, and the outlook is highly negative: Only 7%

of respondents approve of the new model vs. 61% saying

it’s a deterrent to adoption of vSphere 5.0 or an outright

deal breaker.

The revised memory constraints are no longer overly re-

strictive except in very dense shops. This shows that while

VMware may have capitulated, that fact may not be fully

apparent to those who haven’t investigated lately.

Despite major licensing goofs, VMware did introduce a

slew of new features in vSphere 5, many of which offer

compelling business benefits. Our readers also have defi-

nite opinions about which of the new features are and

aren’t important.

Customer approval was relatively predictable here, with

improved high availability, storage DRS and I/O control

bringing up the front of the pack and support for Apple’s

Snow Leopard operating system, auto deployment and

product edition simplification bringing up the rear. The

numbers in general show a high level of approval for

vSphere’s new features; it’s unfortunate then that response

to the licensing change has turned what could have been

a big win into a mere push.

Guess it’s like Mom always said: You only get one chance

to make a good first impression.

How Not to Introduce a New Product

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climb to 500-plus-to-1. Even with multiple 10 Gbps Ethernet and iSCSI or 8 GB Fibre Channelconnections, storage and I/O demands for even moderate workloads at this volume areabsolutely insane. While we haven’t had the privilege of seeing a 500-VM single host’s I/O sta-tistics, we’ve seen active/active 8-GB FC connections saturated on a 25-VM host without muchdifficulty. While solid-state technology has hit the market big time and is a significant boonwith regard to its latency, access time and transfer rates, it doesn’t save us from inadequateserver interconnects. A 500-plus VM host with moderate I/O might require five to 15 10 GbEconnections. While our respondents did not cite consolidation ratios anywhere near this theo-retical max, the fact remains that server-side hardware platforms do, in fact, have the juice torun rigs like this.

The one key infrastructure area that is lacking support for such extreme configurations is I/O.While PCI-SIG’s new standard and the mainstreaming of 10 GbE are bringing new and morerobust connectivity options to the market, it’s still not enough to handle superhigh consolida-tion ratios without massive aggregation of interconnects.

Not All About ServersDesktop, storage and application virtualization, in that order, rate highest behind servers interms of those using or evaluating, with I/O and network virtualization bringing up the rear.

Application virtualization, with a respectable 42% citing production use, is still a big umbrella,referring to seamless application delivery services (XenApp), application encapsulation andabstraction technologies delivered via desktop virtualization (ThinApp), and a combination ofthe two with either Remote Desktop Service and a terminal server or actual virtual desktopscoupled with application abstraction and publishing services (App-V).

Regardless of type, application virtualization greatly accelerates app deployment, centralizesapplication management and facilitates private cloud access. It’s not surprising then that 42%of respondents cite at least some level of production use.

Likewise, storage virtualization has very clear-cut cost benefits and is in use by 57%. You gainsavings via deduplication, tiering and functions like hardware-side disk snapshots, but the realadvantage of storage virtualization is that we finally have a fighting chance of managing a big,messy pile of storage as one resource. Unifying management of a storage infrastructure to a

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54%

Note: Three responses allowedBase: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

Server consolidation

Operational flexibility and agility

Business continuity/disaster recovery

High availability/server clustering

Power savings (electricity, HVAC)

Physical space constraints

Planned capital budget constraints

Senior management interest

Planned IT staff reduction

Other

69%

54%58%

50%31%

49%25%

27%41%

24%31%

17%17%

5%5%

4%10%

3%4%

Please select your top organizational drivers for server virtualization and physical-to-virtual conversion. Virtualization Drivers

2011 2010

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Figure 12

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central point allows IT to administer large storage infrastructures with policy-based tools. Thisis absolutely essential when trying to implement tiered storage strategies.

In terms of desktop virtualization, 44% cite a level of production use, with 42% evaluating thetechnology. This makes a lot of sense because desktop virtualization is a key aspect of all themajor vendors’ strategies. And it’s timely. Since the advent of inexpensive laptops, netbooksand tablets, IT teams have struggled with the “bring your own device” concept. For security-conscious environments, the idea that folks might connect an infected personal device to thenetwork is a major nightmare. Serving desktops or applications from a centralized repositoryall but eliminates the BYOD blues because it prevents company data from ever actually residingon an unsecured machine.

The complementary encapsulation and abstraction methods of modern application virtualiza-tion have made desktop virtualization much easier by encapsulating applications (and all their

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Server virtualization

Storage virtualization

Application virtualization (e.g., ThinApp/XenApp)

Desktop virtualization

Network virtualization (e.g., OpenFlow, Cisco Nexus, NextIO, HP)

I/O virtualization

To what extent is your organization using the following virtualization technologies?Use of Virtualization Technologies

Extensive use Limited use Evaluating

79%

27%

1%

19%

25%15%

18%

30%

27%

2%

24%

33%

11% 14%

44%10%

33%

20%

42%

26%

34%10% 27% 29%

No use/no plans for use

R3391011/10

Figure 13

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finicky settings) into single files that are then distributed by an automated mechanism orinvoked from a network location. Both VMware ThinApp and Microsoft App-V are capable ofencapsulating applications this way, but Citrix XenApp is not; it remains a seamless applicationdelivery service that can now also deliver Citrix virtual desktops.

Desktop virtualization can show a clear ROI if the metrics are properly set during project plan-ning—and not after the fact. In our experience, IT departments are taking their time evaluatingthe technology for both fit and feasibility for their environments and user satisfaction.

Surprisingly, while latency is commonly thought of as the major concern with desktop virtual-ization, we see the real barrier to adoption being peripheral support, especially printing.Terminal protocols were simply not designed to furnish the level of connectivity required for arobust experience. Microsoft has taken up the torch with its PCoIP protocol (see story, nextpage), and vendors like Wyse have also buttressed the market with software suites, like TCX,

4.7

3.4

3.2

3.0

2.8

2.7Note: Mean average ratingsData: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Server virtualization

Storage virtualization

Desktop virtualization

Application virtualization (e.g., ThinApp/XenApp)

I/O virtualization

Network virtualization (e.g., OpenFlow, Cisco Nexus, NextIO, HP)

How important are these virtualization technologies to your organization’s overall IT strategy? Please use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is “not important” and 5 is “very important.”

Importance of Virtualization Technologies to IT Strategy

R3391011/11

1 Not important Very important 5

Figure 14

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that provide multidisplay, rich media and better USB device redirection capabilities. But still,peripheral support remains a problem.

I/O and network virtualization bring up the rear with regard to adoption and approval/impor-tance among respondents. While there are real potential benefits to I/O virtualization, thetechnology is simply too new to attract substantial attention except in implementations drivenby specific requirements such as I/O consolidation, I/O mix and match, and dynamic I/O provisioning.

Pure network virtualization technologies like OpenFlow are even newer and, despite a veryinteresting feature set—like the ability to arbitrarily redirect traffic flows based on patternmatching—have not yet entered the collective IT consciousness. However, we believe thesenumbers will rise substantially over the coming year. Our reasons for that optimism are simple:Network and I/O virtualization solve a number of longstanding virtualization pain points.

First, with the advent of multiple VMs per box, a loss of network-level troubleshooting and vis-ibility became apparent to everyone. Cisco entered the fray, aiming to solve this issue with itsNexus switching line, which communicates with the hypervisor to confer virtual-adapter-levelmanagement and separation as well as monitoring and troubleshooting, features that are miss-ing with the deployment of virtual networks inside host machines.

When implementing desktop virtualization, the devil is

in the details. Initial deployments suffered from faulty local

USB device support, multidisplay issues and a lousy dy-

namic media experience—and those problems still linger.

Vendors have put forth an absolutely bewildering array of

software and functional extensions in an attempt to solve

these problems; sadly, most of these “fixes” come with pe-

culiarities of their own.

Ultimately, the best hope comes as a result of Microsoft

having implemented a replacement for Remote Desktop

Protocol in the form of the newish PC over IP (PCoIP) pro-

tocol. PCoIP incorporates support for desktop USB direction

from thin and fat clients via standard APIs, improved sound

and multimedia video performance, and multidisplay for

remote desktops.

It does everything. If only it actually worked.

Unfortunately, implementation engineers are learning to

hate PCoIP—it’s one of those amazingly promising yet

maddeningly buggy beta releases. Still, Microsoft’s produc-

tion of a new standard protocol is a hugely good thing be-

cause the rest of the industry will certainly follow suit. In-

side of 18 months, PCoIP ought to be ready for prime time,

and the rest of the world will support it, eliminating much

vendor-specific and torturous complexity.

Microsoft PCoIP: Promises, Promises

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But the Cisco product addresses only one out of a whole suite of issues. The higher density andfluidity of virtual infrastructures mean they demand network topologies that are dynamicallyprovisionable in the same way that new VMs are—without touching physical hardware. I/Oand network virtualization pay huge dividends here by allowing administrators to rapidly anddynamically provision network links, in many cases even according to policy, without touchingthe top of the rack.

Other trends in virtualization are also poised to drive network and I/O virtualization. VMwarestarted offering support for prototype 3-D acceleration in desktop VMs with vSphere 4 and hasfurther refined the idea with version 5. The desire to break out video processing to separatehardware continues to drive specialty I/O virtualization products.

Further, the proliferation of different I/O types that occurred with the first wave of densityincreases continues to be a problem. For organizations bringing multiple storage and I/O inter-connects into multiple virtualization hosts, I/O virtualization may be a no-brainer.

In addition, development of new conventional Ethernet protocols like OpenFlow and CiscoOTV allows new dynamic traffic-match conditions and greater flexibility with the direction ofindividual traffic flows. It’s easy to see how having the ability to dynamically reconfigure theWAN based on events in the data center can confer a major advantage, especially when tryingto automate a DR/BC strategy.

The main problem with network and I/O virtualization at present is, again, a lack of standardsand uniformity. While most I/O virtualization vendors have settled on PCI as a transport mech-anism, backed up by SR-IOV for virtualized adapters, others are using InfiniBand and 10 GbEwith proprietary virtual breakouts. The same proliferation of choice abounds in pure networkvirtualization offerings. While OpenFlow, Cisco OTV and VPLS can all be used to dynamicallyredirect traffic based on conditions, they vary considerably in terms of implementation andother functionality.

The moral then, is this: If server virtualization suffers from a lack of standards, I/O and net-work virtualization are only that much more embryonic. The value is certainly there, but caveatemptor.

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55%

43%

39%

39%

29%

24%

16%

15%

Note: Three responses allowedData: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Cost savings

Better use of hardware

Improved application uptime

Improved operational efficiency

Hardware savings

Improved management

Labor savings

Improved applications response times

Better data utilization through centralization

Storage savings

Improved compliance

Better IT accountability (through chargebacks and other mechanisms)

Other

14%

5%

4%

3%

1%

What are the primary metrics your organization uses when measuring the success of virtualization deployments?

Virtualization Success Metrics

R3391011/16

Figure 15

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Management TrendsWhile early virtualization deployments saw IT shops trying to integrate virtualization into theirexisting management platforms, current data seems to be showing us a different picture.

From this year to last, we saw a 16-point jump in the percentage of respondents using built-in orplatform-bundled tools for VM and infrastructure management. While it’s difficult to pinpoint theexact reason for this shift, we suspect it’s because of the difficulty of effectively integrating virtual-ization management into the previous generation of network and systems management suites.While many of these tools offer MIBs for major virtualization platforms, network and systemsmanagement vendors face a couple of challenges. The first is continuing to revise their core prod-ucts’ management capabilities to account for new hypervisor features. The rate of change is sofurious that, at times, even large vendors get behind. Delays in adding functionality inevitablydrive admins back to default management tools to get the job done, and they tend to stay there.

74%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

Platform-bundled tools such as Virtual Machine Manager, VirtualCenter or XenCenter

Using current enterprise tools without VM-specific modules

Using current enterprise tools with new VM-specific modules such as Unicenter Network & Systems Management

Deployed virtualization-specific tools from vendors such as CiRBA, DynamicOps, Embotics, Insystek

We don’t manage VMs and hypervisor hosts

58%

12%17%

6%9%

1%4%

7%12%

How do you currently manage virtual machines and hypervisor hosts in your organization?Virtual Machine and Hypervisor Host Management

2011 2010

R3391011/13

Figure 16

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Even more difficult for the NSM industry is living up to the expectations of customers. Theemphasis on automation we’ve seen among respondents makes it clear where we’re headed—and we’re looking to NSM system providers to make it happen.

There’s a fundamental problem, though: Failure-recovery automation is still just as labor inten-sive and difficult as it’s always been. Server virtualization has, technically, made automationeasier by making virtual machines more portable and by eliminating fixed-hardware con-straints, but as we’ve discussed, it’s also made things much more complex.

Add to this virtualized storage, network and I/O, and the complexity of a seemingly simplefailover operation can be enormous. Imagine trying to write an automation script that can talkto one or more storage virtualization controllers, one or more hypervisor platforms, check thefunction of multiple applications and communicate with an I/O controller. Just making deci-sions based on such a large amount of information is difficult; now try to incorporate yourcode into your NSM platform and maintain and test it through moves/adds/changes and hard-

56%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

Yes, via vendor’s platform-bundled automated tools/controls

Yes, via third-party automated tools/controls

No, but we plan to incorporate live migration by the end of this year

No, and we have no plans to do so

44%

7%9%

10%12%

27%35%

Does your organization use VM mobility tools, such as VMotion or XenMotion, to live-migrate virtualized servers among physical hosts in production environments?

Use of VM Mobility Tools

2011 2010

R3391011/12

Figure 17

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ware/software updates. Add to this the emergence of predictive analytics, which depends on agood network management tool and event database, and the scenario becomes even more grim.

But we’re in the heart of virtualization territory now, right? Automation is supposed to be thecore reason we’re aiming for pervasive adoption, isn’t it?

What nobody is saying is that virtualization doesn’t make automation easier. It just makes itpossible. Without the encapsulation of virtual machines, disks and other resources, it’s extraor-dinarily difficult to make policy-based or automated decisions. Without virtualization, everysingle automation transaction is a manual affair. With virtualization, network automation is stilla nightmare, but it’s a slightly more manageable one.

37%

29%

27%

27%

19%

15%

13%

15%Note: Multiple responses allowedBase: 143 respondents at organizations using multiple hypervisorsData: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Separate server and desktop virtualization vendors

Non-primary hypervisor used for specific feature or circumstance

Compatibility issues

Hardware compatibility for legacy hardware

Cost savings; primary vendor is costly to use pervasively

In the process of migrating to a new vendor

Acquired the other hypervisor(s) as part of a merger or acquisition

Other

Why does your organization use more than one hypervisor?Reasons for Using Multiple Hypervisors

R3391011/3

Figure 18

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Making the Business Case At the end of the day, the success of any IT initiative comes down to dollars, and our respon-dents use a diverse mix of benchmarks to gauge the success of their virtualization deployments.More than half, 55%, cite cost savings, but we also see some of the same drivers for privatecloud being used to measure the success of virtualization deployments.

“Clients are less interested in server virtualization and more interested in services automation,”says an architect for a major IT integrator. “Business doesn’t care about the technology, theywant to know the business value in terms of go-to-market advantages.”

One really striking thing about this survey is that 61% of respondents say they don’t measureROI, relying instead on gut feeling. So how does that work, exactly?

Actually, we think this indicates how deeply virtualization is embedded in the modern IT mind-set. We’re not measuring ROI for server virtualization because server virtualization is the indus-try standard. We don’t remember the last time anyone asked for ROI figures on a firewall, either.

37%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

Yes, and it’s paying off nicely

Yes, and we’re disappointed by the result

No, but we feel we’re getting our money’s worth

No, and we feel we aren’t getting a payoff from the technology

28%

2%4%

57%60%

4%8%

Have you measured the return on your investment in virtualization?Virtualization ROI

2011 2010

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Figure 19

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71%

Note: Three responses allowedBase: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

High availability of applications/services

Deploy new IT services faster

Disaster recovery

Lower data center operating cost

Build prototype IT services faster

Reduce data center’s carbon footprint

Continuous data protection

Use fewer IT staff in data center

Self-provisioning by business units

Charge business units for IT resources

Other

62%

52%40%

51%52%

43%42%

17%22%

15%6%

15%35%

13%8%

4%6%

1%8%

2%1%

What are the most important business goals delivered through virtualization?Most Important Business Goals Delivered Through Virtualization

2011 2010

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The keys here are caution and patience. While server virtualization may be a no-brainer, thesame cannot yet be said for supplemental virtualization technologies, including I/O, network,desktop and, to a lesser extent, storage. Remember, if you virtualized your infrastructureaccording to best practices eight or 10 years ago, you got the basic benefits fast, and gratis.Consolidation, flexibility and power savings happened more or less automatically. Big-leaguepayoffs like automated disaster recovery or private clouds, in contrast, are immensely difficultto engineer, even with best-of-breed systems, because of the sheer complexity involved in tyingmany silos together.

The moral, then, is this: Don’t expect the next wave of “virtualization benefits” to come withoutsome sweat. We’re into deep water now, and getting anything done is going to involve swim-ming and teamwork.

The chief advantage in using an alternate hypervisor to VMware is price. Even with the newvSphere 5 licensing constraints raised, Citrix can still beat VMware by more than 10% on price,and Microsoft can come out ahead by 50% in deployments of all sizes. That level of savings is amore-than-sufficient business driver to justify a big move—the ROI will be measured inmonths for some deployments.

One note about virtualization licensing: Even if a switch to Hyper-V would generate a hugesavings, make sure you give VMware and Citrix an opportunity to compete. Odds are, you canhave the hypervisor of your choice at something close to the price of the low bidder. Com -petition is just that stiff right now.

ConclusionAs core virtualization technologies mature, over the next few years we’ll see intense competi-tion among vendors to develop and market hardware standards. Our respondents are extremelyinterested in automating existing infrastructures and tying dissimilar management silos to -gether; consequently, we expect to see a huge upswing in automation and management tech-nologies in very short order.

We also see opportunities for integrators that can offer the diverse skill sets needed for infra-structure automation and private cloud development; for many companies, bringing in help islikely to be a more cost-effective method than trying to assemble functional teams in-house.

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That’s reflected in our survey, where nearly half of respondents say they have no plans to reor-ganize IT teams as a result of virtualization. The market is also right on track for broader adop-tion of supplementary virtualization technologies, like I/O and network.

Hampered by a lack of standards but bolstered by robust competition, the current buzz phrasein IT should be “anything goes.” Pick a sound financial strategy and defend it against all cor-ners. A lack of standards means a lack of best practices. The industry has changed so vastlythat, let’s face it, there is no single “right” virtualization strategy anymore. On the downside,the winds of change have created a treacherous sea for IT teams to navigate. But the upside isthat a lack of right answers means a lack of wrong answers, too. Essentially, if you can justifyand defend a technology choice, you’ve done your job.

With finances tight, focus on getting the most out of your hypervisors by leveraging easy-to-use, powerful features like HA. Employ management tools to inhibit sprawl and improve con-solidation and density ratios while lessening power consumption.

17%

Base: 396 respondents in August 2011 and 203 in August 2010Data: InformationWeek Virtualization Management Survey of business technology professionals

Yes, we’ve reorganized

Yes, we’re in the process of reorganizing

No, but we see a need to reorganize

No, and we see no benefit to reorganizing

12%

16%17%

18%20%

49%51%

Has virtualization led you to reorganize IT teams?Impact of Virtualization on IT Team Structure

2011 2010

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Don’t think you can’t measure ROI, either. It can be done, and organizations that are usingproper metrics are reporting satisfaction and savings with virtualized workloads.

“We’ve been highly virtualized since 2006,” says an enterprise infrastructure services managerfor a state-level agency. “Cost savings from hardware, administration, power and cooling sincethen? $1.7 million.”

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Appe

ndix

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Which of the following dollar ranges includes the annual revenue of your entire organization?Company Revenue

$50 million to $99.9 million

Less than $6 million

8%

$6 million to $49.9 million

Don’t know/decline to say

Government/non-profit

$5 billion or more

$100 million to $499.9 million

$500 million to $999.9 million

$1 billion to $4.9 billion

21%

16%

9%10%

11%12%

8%

5%

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Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Approximately how many employees are in your organization?Company Size

500-999100-499

10%

50-99

10,000 or more

1,000-4,999

5,000-9,999

34%

5%

23% 8%

20%

R3391011/23

Figure 23

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37%

16%

9%

7%

5%

5%

5%

2%

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

IT/IS staff

Director/manager, IT or infrastructure

Director/manager, IT operations

Director/manager, other IT

Consultant

Director/manager, network systems

CIO

CSO (chief security officer)/security management

CTO

Vice president, IT or infrastructure

Director/manager, storage or data center

Line-of-business management

Other

2%

2%

2%

2%

6%

Which of the following best describes your job title?Job Title

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3%

5%

9%

2%

8%

13%

9%

4%

Data: InformationWeek 2011 Virtualization Management Survey of 396 business technology professionals, August 2011

Construction/engineering

Consulting and business services

Education

Electronics

Financial services

Government

Healthcare/medical

Insurance/HMOs

IT vendors

Logistics/transportation

Manufacturing/industrial, non-computer

Media/entertainment

Non-profit

Retail/e-commerce

Telecommunications/ISPs

Utilities

Other

8%

2%

14%

4%

2%

3%

4%

2%

11%

What is your organization’s primary industry?Industry

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Want More Like This?Making the right technology choices is a challenge for IT teams everywhere. Whetherit’s sorting through vendor claims, justifying new projects or implementing new sys-tems, there’s no substitute for experience. And that’s what InformationWeek Reportsprovides—analysis and advice from IT professionals. Our site houses more than 900reports and briefs, and more than 100 new reports are slated for release in 2012.Registration gets you access to:

Research: Storage & File Virtualization: Storage virtualization enables IT to eliminatestorage volumes with hard characteristics, while file virtualization is about abstractingthe link between files themselves and their references. The result? Freedom for IT—and users—from regimented storage structures. What’s not to like?

Research: Virtualization Security: Spinning up VMs may well be too easy for our owngood. Our latest Virtualization Security Survey shows a lack of even basic change con-trols in many organizations. Fortunately, keeping virtual servers safe isn’t as difficult—or expensive—as some vendors would have you believe. We’ll explain our strategy.

Strategy: Tools to Tame Virtualization: IT needs a big toolbox to properly deploy, monitor and manage a virtualized environment. We have tools from 26 vendors youshould know about that can handle hypervisors from multiple vendors.

Strategy: Storage Virtualization:Google—along with a cadre of other large enterprisesand cloud providers—has successfully paired smart storage virtualization and manage-ment software with commodity hardware to break the stranglehold of black-box SANvendors. Is it time for the rest of us to take that step?

Best Practices: Managing Virtualized Environments:The quest for cost savings andgreater productivity per dollar spent has given rise to a mix of legacy, virtual, cloudand SaaS environments in enterprise infrastructures.

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