TheInfoPro, a service of 451 Research, has released its latest Servers and Virtualization Study, indicating a major refresh of x86 server infrastructure and the associated network, storage, and software technologies required to optimize performance in virtualized, cloud-ready data centers. Conducted during the second half of 2012, TheInfoPro study identifies key initiatives of senior server infrastructure managers and examines market factors and major players. This annual study is based on extensive live interviews with server professionals and primary decision-makers at large and midsize enterprises in North America and Europe.
Highlights from the TheInfoPro Servers and Virtualization Study include:
Server virtualization projects are still driving activity and spending across much of the IT marketplace, with less than a third of respondents considering their environments to be sufficiently virtualized.
The majority of respondents are undertaking a major refresh of their x86 server infrastructures together with the network and storage technologies that are required to optimize performance in virtualized, cloud-ready data centers.
In the x86 environment, which represents more than 80% of respondents' computing capacity, average virtualization levels have increased 13% from last year to 51%, with a notable increase at the higher levels, roughly doubling the number of organizations virtualizing production applications.
The complexity and interdependency of storage, network, server and software in virtualized environments is driving interest in 'integrated infrastructure' solutions, which include unified computing and converged and appliance-oriented infrastructure. In these categories, general-purpose offerings — especially those that are composed of multivendor components — are gaining favor, with offerings from Cisco and its array of partners being the most widely mentioned by respondents.
From the software perspective, attention is switching from base virtualization capabilities to the automation tools required to manage production workloads in virtualized environments: service catalogs, usage-based reporting and accounting (show-back), service-level monitoring tools, and runbook or script-based automation and provisioning.
With most organizations embroiled in virtualizing business-critical production workloads, it is hardly surprising that vendors closely associated with the technologies required to build cloud-ready, virtualized data centers top the list of exciting vendors. This strongly favors VMware as the dominant virtualization provider for x86-based infrastructure, and Cisco for hardware vendors. Both vendors also top TheInfoPro customer ratings for promise and fulfillment.
"Server virtualization projects are still dominating IT activity, creating a one-time spending bubble as organizations lay down the foundation for a cloud-ready infrastructure," said Peter Foulkes, TheInfoPro's research director for servers and virtualization. "Complexity is driving interest in converged infrastructure solutions, with 13% of respondents planning to implement the technology for the first time within the next two years."
Foulkes will host a 451 Research Innovation webinar on January 31 to discuss the report's findings.