Virtualization fever is starting to move down-market from the large enterprise to more medium-sized businesses, according to a new study by AMI-Partners, an IT market research and consultancy firm. The survey says medium-sized businesses (those with 100-1000 employees) in the U.S. have shown much greater interest in server virtualization over the last year. For 2010, 75 percent of the survey respondents reported that server virtualization is strategically important to their business, up from 46 percent just one year ago.
Thats a testimony to the budget-constrained, consolidate-or-die imperatives that are driving IT managers in this market, since AMI also confessed that deploying virtualization is a daunting task for many, demanding highly specific IT skills to successfully migrate to a virtual environment. For example, this migration forces companies to upgrade or overhaul their existing server, storage and networking gear for best results. Bottom line? Many in the market share the widespread belief that virtualization is a complex, time-consuming and cost-intensive process one not without risks.
2009 was a turning point for server virtualization usage among U.S. medium businesses (MBs), accelerated by the affects of the economic downturn as midmarket CIOs and IT managers looked for ways to cut IT costs and boost asset utilization, said Melissa Chong, manager of Managed Services. Responding to this market demand, AMI observed that IT vendors and channel partners have increasingly targeted their virtualization marketing efforts on the space, moving to deliver more extensive solutions to the customer.
Nevertheless, AMI predicts customer adoption of these virtualization solutions in the midmarket will continue to rise over the course of the year, as these companies, many of which have endured a recession-induced IT budget freeze over the last year and a half, begin to emerge from the telecom nuclear winter and move to upgrade their IT infrastructures.
Server virtualization can yield many benefits for a midmarket firm. At the most basic level, it improves utilization and reduces the number of physical servers, while at the same time, reducing electricity and cooling costs. In addition, U.S. MBs become more responsive to users needs by reducing application deployment and migration times.
Midmarket firms are becoming more aware of the concept and benefits of virtualization as a whole, Chong added. When midmarket firms upgrade their infrastructure, they will look into virtualization across server, clients, storage and networks as well. In the past few months, companies like Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM have announced their own virtualization bundles targeting U.S. MBs in order to make it easier for them to adopt virtualization solutions and prevent incompatibilities that could up-end the entire virtualization effort.”
AMI-Partners has also announced plans to assemble a similar study on U.S. SMB plans to adopt virtualization that will cover customer demand for individual and/or integrated virtualization solutions, as well as the preferences and evaluation process involved for these companies.