Virtualization offers strong opportunities

Virtualization has become one of the latest trends in the IT industry. Not only is server virtualization on the way up, but so is desktop virtualization. Many software companies have introduced software to enable IT departments – both in-house and outsourced – to reap the benefits of a virtualized environment.  As this trend continues to grow, look for increased opportunities to emerge for IT solution providers.

In Info-Tech Research Group’s Management Series Special Report on Virtualization, virtualization adoption was examined from an industry perspective. Included is a breakdown of sectors including business services, financial services, government, T/U/C (telephone, utilities and communication), wholesale/retail, healthcare, education, manufacturing and primary industries.  The question posed concerned the stage of virtualization adoption. Overwhelmingly, across all sectors, organizations were not far in their adoption of the technology This represents an opportunity for the solution provider community.

Adoption was strongest in manufacturing organizations, with approximately 23 per cent of respondents indicating that it was in place.  Business services ranked second at 20 per cent, and financial services ranked third, with 19 per cent of respondents operating in a virtualized environment.  All three of these industries are heavy spenders in data management arena, with both servers and storage playing a critical role in their IT expenditures. The larger the data management requirements, the more likely there is for an infrastructure consolidation. This news provides music to the solution provider’s ears.

In terms of the firms with the largest opportunities, over 60 per cent of primary industry firms were not using any sort of virtualization at the time of this report’s publication.  Neither were over 50 per cent of education, government, healthcare, and wholesale/retail survey respondents.  Therein lies some tremendous opportunities for solution providers.  Healthcare, education and government share the penchant for data management, and are also ripe for infrastructure consolidation. 

Shifting away from a complete server upgrade, a move which offers strong opportunities for more effective data management, desktop virtualization offers some interesting prospects, in a cost effective manner. The occasional vendor might admit (in secret, of course) that some desktop virtualization programs will work on some servers, which would lower costs and raise the possibility of bringing virtualization into smaller firms. 

Introducing smaller firms to the benefits of a virtualized environment is yet another opportunity for IT solution providers.  And this is another area of growth.

Before this industry moves too far, there is one important step that must to occur.  “Virtualization” must be explained to customers in business terms.  The business case for a virtualized environment exists on many fronts.  However, many business executives don’t know what the term means.  IT departments, many of whom have a strong position in the decision-making process, know.  The value lies in being able to clearly define the term to the key decision-maker.  At that point, organizations can push forward with their virtualized data management strategy.

Again, music to the IT solution provider’s ears.

Michelle Warren is an industry analyst with Info-Tech Research of London, Ont.

Comment: [email protected]

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