IT managers wary of virtualisation

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IT managers wary of virtualisation

Many fear disruption to live systems.

Virtualisation may promise to solve some of the problems of overcrowded data centres, but many IT managers are reluctant to trust the technology, regarding it as over-hyped and confusing to manage, a survey has found.

Virtualisation seeks to abolish the one-to-one relationship between applications and servers which has evolved in many data centres.

The technology enables hardware resources to be devoted dynamically to business processes, regardless of which applications they involve and on which servers they run.

Virtualisation promises to reduce the number of servers required to meet business need, make IT operations more efficient and service-oriented, reduce complexity and help tackle the growing problem of power consumption and heat dissipation.

But a survey released today by systems integrator Morse suggests that IT managers are afraid of downtime jeopardising live systems and are steering clear of virtualisation technologies. 

Only 29 percent of the 100 IT directors surveyed by Vanson Bourne said they were using virtualisation in live business critical environments, citing the threat to live systems as the main reason for avoiding the technology. 

Financial services organisations, unsurprisingly, are even more risk-adverse: 81 percent said they were not using virtualisation technology throughout the business because of the perceived risks.

"It is unfortunate that the very organisations that stand to get the most out of virtualisation have yet to embrace it from a strategic standpoint," said Scott Reynolds, a consultant at Morse.

"It is a hugely beneficial technology that can help businesses cut costs in the data centre and make the whole IT environment much simpler and easier to manage."

Many of the IT directors surveyed had specific fears preventing them from investigating virtualisation further for their company.

Fifty eight percent said that the risk of downtime when altering production systems was their biggest fear with server virtualisation.

Others cited concerns that virtualisation would cause a degradation in application performance (57 percent) or that the technology would be too expensive (31 percent).

Almost a third (29 percent) feared that managing a virtualised environment would be too complex.

These fears are somewhat understandable given that 40 percent of those surveyed had over 700 geographically dispersed servers in their organisation.

Over half of IT directors surveyed felt server virtualisation to be confusing and over-hyped.

Nevertheless, many of the issues that virtualisation promises to address are at the top of IT managers' agendas.

For example, 74 percent of IT directors said that top of their data centre wish list is to be able to lower complexity.

This was followed closely by greater flexibility and being able dynamically to allocate resources (71 percent) and cutting power and cooling requirements (35 percent). Being able to reduce space was a key issue for 32 percent.

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