Home > Blog > Virtualization 2013: It’s Not About IT Staffing Anymore

For several years, the industry press with abuzz with predictions that virtualization was revolutionizing IT.  Now, you hardly see the word in a headline.  What happened?  Did enterprise IT departments abandon virtualization plans in mass?

Hardly.  It’s been more than a decade since widespread X86 server virtualization changed the data center forever.  In fact, Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti says that 77% of enterprise IT departments rely on virtualization technologies, and that six out of 10 workloads in American enterprise are running in virtual machines.

So is the revolution over?  Is that why virtualization isn’t in the headlines anymore?  Not according to Bartoletti and his fellow analysts at Forrester. In fact, Forrester says that the easy workloads are already virtualized, and it’s the more complex, business-critical applications (high-performance databases, ERP, collaboration) that still need to be virtualized.

One of the big changes is that virtualization was long viewed as a way to cut IT staffing requirements and save money, but that isn’t the case anymore.  Complex applications that haven’t been virtualized yet don’t lend themselves to savings in IT staffing.

Now, companies are undertaking more complex virtualization projects for mobility, so that servers can be moved, protected, and duplicated easily.  “It’s about making apps faster, safer, and more reliable. Prove that, and you’ll get your virtual environment budget approved,” Bartoletti says.

In fact, resiliency and disaster recovery are the major trends in virtualization projects starting during the first quarter of 2013.  “IT staffing levels were cut dramatically during the recession, and few IT departments are back at full strength. So virtualization projects and other initiatives that can help to consolidate monitoring, analytics, configuration, back-up and other routine IT tasks are important, too,” the Forrester analyst says.

Virtualization Advice to Note

As the first quarter of 2013 draws to a close, here’s the virtualization advice from the analysts that resonates the most among our clients. Some of them are using strategic IT staffing in the form of “on demand” contract workers to accomplish the projects, and others are adding staff to manage the projects from planning through deployment and maintenance.

1.  Winning over end users is critical to the success of a virtualization project.  Although every vendor has a VDI offering, and most IT organizations have virtualized 25-40% of their applications, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) is still less than 2% of all desktops. Why? Because end user resistance remains strong, especially at the top where virtualization is seen as a way to control end users.

2.  Backup and disaster recovery has become a C-suite hot button in 2013. Chances are, this isn’t news to anyone reading this. Hurricane Sandy and several well-publicized data breaches combined with increased regulatory scrutiny to put this near the top of the “things to worry about list”.  What does that have to do with virtualization? Rethinking a backup and recovery plan can be a good way to fund additional virtualization projects.

3.  Big data is getting bigger – and storage virtualization is continuing to expand.  IDC now estimates that we will hit 40 Zettabtyes by 2020, up from 0.432 zettabytes in 1986 and 1.9 zettabytes of optimally compressed data in 2007. The 2007 number, IDC says, is the equivalent of every person on earth receiving 174 newspapers per day. No matter how quickly virtual storage capacity and compression technology expand, the elimination of redundant data in backup and storage systems (deduplication) is going to be critical over the next few years. Many analysts are also predicting the rise of disposable devices, which post a separate back-up and recovery challenge for IT departments.

4.  Mobility remains a top priority for CIOs, and that means allowing employees to get their job done from any device, wherever they are. It’s no surprise that virtualization vendors like Citrix are predicting that mobility challenges will inevitably lead to more virtualization – but 70% of CIOs agree with them, according to an IDC survey. If you aren’t thinking of software-defined storage, virtualization, and mobility as part of the same process, IDC says you’re spending too much money and taking too much time to keep up with the growing demand for access anytime, from any device, from any location.

If you’re looking for help with a virtualization initiative – whether it’s strategic IT staffing, consulting, project management, or a turn-key development project – talk to InfoVision’s team of rock-star enterprise IT professionals.

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