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CDW Study: Market is Virtualization Friendly, Yet Concerns Remain

CDW LLC, a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government and education, today released its Server Virtualization Life Cycle Report, examining the maturity of the server virtualization market in medium and large businesses, as well as the results of implementation and the barriers to larger scale migration.

The report, based on CDW market analysis and a survey of 387 information technology (IT) executives in organizations with 100 employees or more, reveals that server virtualization is maturing, as more than 90 percent of businesses have implemented it at some level.  Yet, even organizations reporting that they have “fully deployed” server virtualization also report that only 37 percent of their industry-standard server infrastructure consists of virtual servers.

 Ninety percent of respondents indicated that their organization has implemented server virtualization at some level, with more than half of that number – 54 percent – saying they have completed their deployment.  The most-cited barriers to further adoption of server virtualization were security concerns and the compatibility of current hardware or critical software applications with virtualization platforms.

 “Server virtualization was one of the most important data center developments of the past decade, with organizations embracing it enthusiastically for its benefits in cost, IT productivity, business agility and resilience,” said Scott Severson, director of CDW’s server and storage solutions practice.

 “What we found in this study, consistent with what we see in our customers’ experiences, is that most adopters have captured the low-hanging fruit and are building their trust in virtualization  platforms as they consider how to capture more of virtualization’s promise.”

Strong Foundation for Growth …With CaveatsResponses to the CDW survey indicate that the business IT environment is virtualization-friendly, with a substantial majority of participants saying they have the necessary policies and staff in place for successful virtualization implementation.

They also indicate a strong bias toward virtualization, with 89 percent saying their companies employ a “virtualization first” strategy – a requirement that network users prove a new software application does not work in a virtual environment before the company will buy a dedicated server to support it.  Ninety-nine percent of respondents give their CIO or IT director a passing grade in virtualization technology – a vast majority (78 percent) giving an A or B – and 85 percent believe their IT department is appropriately staffed and trained to manage a virtualized server environment.   However, respondents indicate that a number of concerns constrain their organizations from virtualizing more of their server environments.

While no single concern dominates, 17 percent point to reservations about the security of virtual environments and another 17 percent believe their hardware does not support virtualization.  Similarly, 62 percent of respondents say they still employ applications that simply should not run on virtual servers because of the criticality of the data and the applications’ functions.

For example, “Anything drastically related to secure information – I haven't been comfortable with total changeover of payroll and other similar applications just yet,” one respondent said.  Still, experience managing a virtual environment appears to ease such concerns, and organizations that have implemented virtualization claim to see substantial benefits.

 Among businesses that have fully implemented virtualization, only 11 percent of respondents voiced concern with security – half of the number among businesses that have not implemented it fully (22 percent).  Meanwhile, 95 percent of businesses that have implemented virtualization believe they are saving significant money as a result, and almost as many (94 percent) are measuring their success in terms of IT productivity, business agility and reductions in IT energy consumption.

 Additional Findings From The CDW Server Virtualization Life Cycle ReportThe CDW Server Virtualization Life Cycle Report also examines the business drivers of server virtualization and reports what business IT decision makers say will help overcome barriers to further deployment.  The report concludes with recommendations, tips and suggestions for businesses at each stage of adoption, from those merely considering it to those who say they have fully implemented it.

 “IT organizations continue to face immense cost pressures and productivity demands from their internal clients,” Severson said.  “Based upon the successes and benefits they have already seen from server virtualization, we expect continued, steady expansion of virtualized environments as user trust builds and the software vendor community adapts to serve customer demand.”

About the CDW Server Virtualization Life Cycle ReportCDW based this report upon its sales experience and an online survey of 387 IT managers from business organizations with 100 employees or more, taken in June 2009.  The sample size equates to a margin of error of +/- 4.98% at 95% confidence for the group.   For a copy of the complete CDW Server Virtualization Lifecycle Report and to find other virtualization resources, please visit http://www.cdw.com/virtualizationlifecycle.

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