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Contributing Writer

Everyone Is Using Server Virtualization, But Are They Using VM Mobility Features?

Apr 11, 20113 mins
Cisco SystemsCitrix SystemsCloud Computing

Answer: Not as much as you'd think

According to an ESG Research survey of over 1600 large mid-market (i.e. 500-1000 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees)organizations, 93% of either using server virtualization technology today or plan to do so within the next 2 years. Additionally, 61% of these firms are currently using server virtualization technology in a production environment.So the reality is that server virtualization technology is firmly in place but here is where IT reality gets blurred by industry rhetoric. Many IT vendors will spin a story that starts with server virtualization and quickly evolves to cloud computing. From a technical perspective, this rapid transformation depends on VM mobility (i.e. vMotion, XenMotion, etc.) where VMs migrate from server-to-server, corporate data center-to-data center, and from private to public clouds. What’s more, VM mobility is also associated with automation where VM movement is triggered by some event — a maintenance schedule, a server performance threshold, or a VM snapshot. Are users taking advantage of VM mobility in this way? Yes and no. According to ESG Research, 73% of organizations take advantage of on-line VM mobility features so it is safe to say that this is a popular feature. The 73% is somewhat deceptive however — 30% take advantage of on-line VM mobility on a regular basis while 43% say that they do so occasionally. Furthermore, the whole automated trigger-based VM movement is more of a vision. Of those organizations that use VM mobility, 54% use it for planned maintenance and 40% use if for manual redistribution of workloads across servers. Hardly whiz-bang cloud computing functionality.A few more points here:1. To be clear, I view this data as positive in that users are gaining a lot of benefits from VM mobility. As one VP of data center operations proclaimed, “you have no idea how valuable it is to move workloads around easily for IT maintenance. Maintenance tasks that used to take us days takes us hours.” 2. While the IT industry time table may be off, many organizations really do want to use VM mobility to help automate IT operations. They just aren’t ready to do so yet.3. Many organizations that aren’t using VM mobility believe that they lack the skills and best practices to do so. In other words, this is a people and process problem, not a technology problem.ESG is hosting its, “Ahead of the Curve” event this week where the topic is server virtualization. We will have the chance to dig into issues like this one and others with about 150 IT practitioners. Stay tuned, I’ll have more server virtualization data to share soon.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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