Recently at VMworld Europe 2010, CA Technologies announced independent research data confirming management as a key priority for expanding virtualization across the IT environment. The research, based on a survey of 473 IT decision makers in large and mid-sized enterprises in the U.S. and Germany, was conducted on behalf of CA Technologies by Oliver Wyman, an international management consulting firm.

The research demonstrates the importance of having a choice of robust, heterogeneous, virtualization-specific management solutions, covering multiple management disciplines, with a clear roadmap to extend management into enterprise-wide physical plus virtual management as organizations' IT environments mature. The roadmap for virtualization management is an important key to resolving VM stall, accelerating virtualization maturity, and delivering key benefits such as reduced cost of IT, improved operational efficiency, lower staffing costs, and increased business agility.

Following are five important findings of this research:

1. The Reality of VM Stall

The issue of VM stall was highlighted by several findings:

  • Around one-third (34 percent) of organizations have only deployed virtualization for five to 20 percent of servers – typically the 'low-hanging fruit' of test and development systems, Web servers, print servers, etc.
  • Most respondents (87 percent) have only virtualized less than 40 percent of their servers.
  • Only 12 percent have reached the final phase of virtualization, with more than 40 percent of servers virtualized.
  • On average, respondents have virtualized just 39 percent of their servers.
These results show that most organizations are still in the early phases of virtualization deployment, held up by VM stall.

2. Key Causes of VM Stall

Respondents cited several causes for their inability to expand their virtualization deployments. While budget remains the top barrier to new technology deployment, the leading non-monetary causes for VM stall include:

  • The high operational risk of a failed migration;
  • The inability of available tools to meet management needs; and
  • The lack of resources skilled in virtual server management.
3. Leading Virtualization Objectives

The research further found that at these early stages, the focus tends more toward cost savings. At this stage, the leading objective for virtualization, as cited by 39 percent of organizations, was improved efficiency and headcount reduction. A further 32 percent cited hardware and capital cost reduction as a primary virtualization goal.

Only a few organizations have progressed to a more mature stage of adoption, but here focus shifts toward higher-order business outcomes. At later stages, the flexibility to meet changing business demands was the leading virtualization objective, cited as a primary goal by 43 percent of organizations.

"Organizations held back by VM stall are unable to progress from the entry-level benefits of server consolidation into infrastructure optimization, automation efficiency, and dynamic data center or private cloud," said Stephen Elliot, vice president of strategy, Virtualization and Automation, CA Technologies. "This means virtualization rollouts fail to realize the full scope of promised benefits – not just cost reduction, but also service improvements, staffing benefits, business and IT agility, management efficiency, and market responsiveness."

4. Virtualization-Specific vs. Integrated Management

In surveying organizations' preferences for dedicated vs. integrated virtualization management solutions across 11 different management disciplines, it was clear that management needs vary by maturity, discipline, and scale.

A significant minority of organizations (23 to 33 percent, depending on maturity) expressed a preference for virtualization-specific management tools. However, many respondents (47 to 53 percent) expressed a preference for integrated physical plus virtual management tools.

This demonstrates that there is a clear need for both virtualization-specific, and integrated physical and virtual solutions across all disciplines, and the flexibility to move seamlessly from one approach to the other.

5. Heterogeneous Hypervisor Support

Moreover, the research data also reinforces the fundamentally heterogeneous nature of most virtualization deployments at their deepest levels. Almost two-thirds of all respondents (65 percent) reported employing multiple hypervisors in at least some capacity (ranging from early evaluation through to full deployment), while almost one-fifth (19 percent) reported employing four or more hypervisors. This heterogeneity also contributes to the difficulty in finding adequate management tools to support virtualization environments.

"Organizations at all maturity levels need a choice of dedicated and integrated management tools, across multiple disciplines, and designed for heterogeneous virtualization environments, to overcome VM stall and accelerate their virtualization deployments," said Andi Mann, vice president of product marketing, Virtualization and Automation, CA Technologies. "We are uniquely meeting this demand with a choice of virtualization-specific tools for early deployments that extend to integrated physical and virtual tools for more mature production rollouts."

CA Technologies executives Stephen Elliot and Andi Mann will explore the causes of and solutions to VM stall at VMworld Europe 2010 in Copenhagen on Wednesday, October 13. Their presentation, entitled "Getting Over the Hump - How to Jumpstart Your Stalled Virtualization Deployment," will be held at 4:30 p.m. (GMT+1) in Session Room 20 of the Bella Center. CA Technologies will showcase its many solutions designed to help customers eliminate VM stall and progress on the journey from virtualization to cloud computing at VMworld Europe in booth 40.