Yankee Group Says Server Virtualization Adoption Is Accelerating
August 4, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Market researcher Yankee Group, like every other IT consultancy, is trying to figure out a new angle on this whole server virtualization phenomenon so it can make a little noise and a little money, too. To that end, Yankee released some of the results of surveys it has done in recent months to help spur demand for two new virtualization reports it has issued, just to give us all a little taste of the data.
The two reports that Yankee put out–2008-2009 Global Virtualization Deployment and Usage Survey and Virtualization Price War: VMware’s Little Bighorn–are based on the survey results from 750 IT administrators and C-level executives who were polled in 20 countries. According to the survey, nearly 75 percent of businesses polled said that they have deployed or will deploy virtualization technology in their data centers. (Yankee did not say what percentage of companies actually have done it, nor did it give any kind of indication of what percentage of servers at the company had been virtualized yet. This would be the more interesting data.) The key drivers of server virtualization, according to those polled are–in no certain order–disaster recovery, server and application backup, and server and licensing consolidation to cut costs and boost the return on investment in IT projects. Here’s an interesting bit of data: 40 percent of those polled are deploying virtualization products from two or three vendors. And here is a bit of data that I just don’t believe: 23 percent of the businesses polled said they are using Apple Mac servers to virtualize their Windows XP and Vista desktops. Something is wickedly skewed in this data if this is true. I might believe that of those customers who have Mac desktops, a quarter are using the Parallels hypervisor to provide Windows XP and Windows Vista instances for Mac users. Apple’s Xserve server sales would be going through the roof if a quarter of data centers were deploying virtualized Windows on them for corporate desktops.
The bumping and bruising going on out there in the global economy is one of the big drivers behind the move to virtualize. (As I have said many times, recessions tend to drive technology transitions more than just technology by itself for its own sake. All the ROI arguments in the world don’t matter when companies are flush with cash and are trying to expand their sales, but they sure as heck matter when companies are fighting to keep every dollar of sales in a tough economic environment, and to do so profitably.)
“Corporate enterprises are tightening their spending belts while searching for alternative ‘Anywhere Application’ environments that increase cost efficiencies and without sacrificing capability or performance,” explained Laura DiDio, a research fellow at Yankee Group. (And no, I will not be using Anywhere Application Environment as an abbreviation. Heaven help us, we do not need any more buzzwords or catchy phrases to describe what I call computing.) “Organizations need not look any further than the virtualization market for the appropriate solution. Thanks to the rapid commoditization and intensified competition in this market, a price war has emerged–making IT departments the true winners in this battle.”
Interestingly, DiDio talks about how “market leader VMware” has a six to nine month lead over Microsoft, Citrix Systems, Novell, Oracle, Parallels, Red Hat, and Virtual Iron, but is under siege as these companies offer virtualization hypervisors and management tools that are 35 percent to 75 percent less costly.
While this is true, such a statement ignores every non-X64 hypervisor and server platform out there in the world, and last time I looked, mainframes plus proprietary minis plus Unix boxes are still the dominant revenue generators in the server space. The hypervisors and tools on these platforms are arguably more sophisticated than VMware (excepting VMotion, which is exceedingly clever), and are actually seeing a large percentage of uptake by their customer bases on physical boxes being purchased–like better than two-thirds in the midrange and nearly universally in the enterprise server space, according to anecdotal reports I get from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Fujitsu-Siemens. These platforms deserve more respect than they are getting, but that’s OK. The vendors are getting the money for the sales just the same, no matter what the consultants say or do not say.