EMA Advisory Note: Virtualization and Management Trends, Forecasts, and Recommendations (Summary)

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1 EMA Advisory Note: Virtualization and Management Trends, Forecasts, and Recommendations (Summary) Sponsored by: Virtualization is clearly a mission-critical production technology Written by Andi Mann Enterprise Management Associates (EMA ) Research Director Systems Management Practice What Is Virtualization? Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) defines virtualization as a technique for abstracting (or hiding) the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way in which other systems, applications, or end users interact with those resources. The most explored virtualization technology is Server Virtualization a method of running multiple guest operating environments directly on top of base hardware, sharing fine-grained resources (CPU, memory, etc.), without requiring a complete host operating system. However, virtualization takes many different forms, including Operating System Virtualization, Application Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, Storage Virtualization, and Network Virtualization. This is far from a complete list. EMA considers streaming, isolation, grid and cluster computing, and more all virtualization technologies. Even other abstracting technologies like software-as-aservice (SaaS) and service oriented architectures (SOAs) could be considered forms of virtualization. EMA Virtualization Research Outline In April 2008, EMA published the most extensive research study into virtualization and management conducted to date, based on a survey of more than 625 IT professionals, plus many additional focal interviews. Companies represented include all sizes from small and medium businesses to very large enterprises, across multiple different industries and from all major geographies. This EMA Advisory Note summarizes the most important findings from this research, and provides recommendations on how to get the most from these technologies. Key Findings Workloads Virtualization is clearly a mission-critical production technology. Test and development remains the most common use case for virtualization, but almost three-quarters of all enterprises are now using virtualization for production applications, making it the second most broadly deployed use case. Overall, virtualization deployments for all significant workloads (test and development, production application servers, production databases, production middleware servers, desktops, data management, etc.) have increased since 2006.

2 Drivers and Outcomes Server consolidation and improved hardware utilization is now the strongest single driver for virtualization. As in 2006, the other leading drivers are still about service and performance, such as reducing downtime, enabling disaster recovery and business continuity, increasing flexibility and agility, and achieving SLAs. In almost all enterprises, virtualization is effectively achieving multiple of these objectives. Virtualization success can be severely restricted by multiple layers of complexity Barriers to Success Human issues are the single most important problem in virtualization today. Political infighting is the number one reason holding back successful virtualization deployments, so enterprises need to build better business cases, and build wider business support. Enterprises also face an impending skills crisis in attracting and retaining virtualization resources. Internal training is the most important remedy to this crisis for many reasons. Deploying better virtualization management tools will also help to address the impending skills shortage. Platforms, Technologies, Vendors Microsoft Windows is the most popular virtualization platform, but Linux is not far behind. Server virtualization is by far the most popular technology, followed by Operating System virtualization. Across all technologies, VMware remains the leading vendor, but it is under a more serious threat than ever before with Microsoft hot on its heels and Citrix well within reach. Almost half of all enterprises have or are deploying Xen in some fashion, whether a proprietary mix, or open source Xen as part of core Linux distributions. Multiple Layers of Complexity Enterprises deploying virtualization are facing a major management problem the multiple layers of complexity that inevitably results in a complex, disjointed, heterogeneous environment. For example, on average each enterprise has 11 different virtualization platforms (e.g., Windows, Linux, UNIX, etc.), technologies (e.g., server, OS, storage, etc.), and vendors (e.g., VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, etc.) in their virtualization environment alone. Only 2% have a simple, homogeneous environment with one platform, one technology, and one vendor. Enterprises must also deal with multiple drivers, outcomes, barriers, management teams, management disciplines, and management tools. Almost all enterprises also have a substantial traditional physical environment as well, so virtualization is layering all this complexity on top of existing, complex environments. Solutions that simplify the management of this complexity will be critical to achieving virtualization success. Managing Multiple Layers of Complexity Overall, a majority of enterprises rate all management disciplines as either easier or the same in a virtual environment. However, comparing attitudes to virtualization management over time, every virtualization management discipline is rated harder in 2008 than it was in 2006, as more enterprises realize the real difficulties of virtualization management. Security, performance, problem, capacity, and configuration management are the disciplines most perceived as harder in a virtual environment. Not one virtualization management discipline is perceived as easier in 2008 than it was in EMA expects more and more enterprises will realize the real difficulties of managing virtualization, especially without adequate management solutions.

3 Virtualization Management Solutions This research clearly showed that most enterprises do not have the tools they need to manage their virtualization environment effectively. Most enterprises end up using just the basic tools that came with their virtualization technology, and as many as 10% still manage the virtualization environment manually. This is causing a massive inefficiency, and is likely leading to increased costs, reduced productivity, higher skills requirements, increased rates of error, and inefficient utilization of resources (human and technical). Enterprises should look for virtualization management tools that integrate with the rest of the IT management stack, and help achieve strategic management objectives like Business Service Management and ITIL. Key Recommendations Treat Virtualization as a Strategy, not a Project Virtualization should be about the whole business, not just about IT, and about a range of long-term benefits, not just (or even) short-term savings. Enterprises need to consider up front how to leverage their investment to make the entire business better for the long run, not just how to finish a shortsighted, albeit highly valuable, server consolidation project. With a strategic approach, virtualization can deliver a wide range of use cases, a great deal of payback, financially and otherwise, and significant outcomes across five, ten, or even more different objectives, to at least some degree. Most enterprises do not have the virtualization management tools they need to be effective Prepare for Multiple Layers of Complexity This research discusses in detail the three most important layers of complexity the virtualization triple-threat of multiple virtualization platforms, technologies, and vendors but also highlights data points on many other layers of complexity. Enterprises must be better prepared to deal strategically with these layers of complexity, rather than just reacting to them if (or when) they become a significant challenge. Management software will help, but some vendors are clearly better than others in helping enterprises to do this Adapt to the Changing Virtualization Landscape A major outcome from this research is the dramatic changes that are occurring, in reality as well as in perception. The multiple layers of complexity are actually becoming more significant, deployments are increasing in all categories, important drivers and outcomes are shifting, the market is expanding as new vendors appear, and contracting as existing vendors are bought out, and significant barriers to success especially human factors are growing in importance. Enterprises must be prepared to adapt to this changing landscape, with more attention to skills; with improved management tools; with increased focus on particular problem areas like integration across platforms, technologies, and vendors; and with a long-term strategic approach to virtualization. About HP HP is a technology company that operates in more than 170 countries around the world. It offers one of the most complete technology product portfolios of any technology vendor in the world. HP provides infrastructure and business offerings that span from handheld devices to some of the world s most powerful supercomputer installations. It

4 Enterprises must treat virtualization as a strategy, not a project Enterprises must prepare for multiple layers of complexity offers consumers a wide range of products and services from digital photography to digital entertainment, and from computing to home printing. This comprehensive portfolio helps HP match the right products, services and solutions to their customers specific needs. In the virtualization space, HP provides an extensive range of solutions, and provides substantial integration across platforms, technologies, and vendors. It offers a variety of server and desktop hardware, including the extensive range of HP Integrity and HP ProLiant servers. It provides virtualization platforms including its own HP/UX and HP Virtual Server Environment Suite (HP VSE Suite), as well as support for third-party platforms including Windows and Linux. It provides a range of virtualization technologies including server, OS, application, and desktop, including the HP integrated VMware ESX Server 3i, and the HP integrated Citrix XenServer. HP also provides some of the market leading solutions for storage virtualization, such as the HP Enterprise Virtual Array, including both the storage hardware and management software; and network virtualization (and management) solutions with its HP Virtual Connect portfolio. HP rounds out its comprehensive product offerings with sophisticated management solutions for virtual and physical provisioning, performance monitoring, configuration management, and more, including HP Data Center Automation, HP Network Automation, HP Client Automation, HP ProLiant Virtual Console, and HP Insight Dynamics. Few vendors can approach the breadth of HP s coverage of the virtualization environment, from hardware to software to management, and even services. EMA recently included HP in the EMA All-Stars in Enterprise Systems Management for 2008 on the First Team for Provisioning, Event Management/Console Consolidation, System Configuration Management; on the All-Star team for IT Process Automation and ESM Suites; and as a Rising Star for Wireless and Mobile Device Management. In provisioning, HP made an impressive solution even better in 2007, with the July acquisition of Opsware. This adds to its strong stable of desktop provisioning, backed with some of the best storage, network, and identity management features, and above-average customer satisfaction. In Event Management, HP OpenView is almost a de facto standard, with the highest market penetration of any heterogeneous offering in this space. The level of integration it offers with HP s own software tools and equipment is extensive, with unique capabilities to manage the leading HP servers and desktops. However, it also offers many years of proven integration with an extensive range of third-party equipment, applications, and management tools. In System Configuration Management, HP s OpenView Configuration Management, which is integrated with the HP ServiceCenter, enables a best-practice closed loop solution that enables businesses to manage their entire IT infrastructure from a single centralized interface. The recent acquisition of Opsware also adds an intriguing potential for automating remediation and enhancing OpenView s configuration enforcement capabilities. To contact HP, visit

5 Enterprises must adapt to the changing virtualization landscape Conclusion There are many other outcomes in EMA research of significant consequence, but these key findings represent the most important findings and challenges of enterprise virtualization today. The research clearly shows that enterprises are gaining major benefits from virtualization, but they also need to be aware that it does always live up to its hype especially when faced with human issues and inadequate technologies. Enterprises need to take decisive steps to shore up their defenses against these challenges, and deploying solutions for better virtualization management is one part of a strategic approach to achieving virtualization success. Of course, enterprises must address not just technology, but also people and process. However, the sooner they are able to do so, the sooner they can overcome the difficulties and barriers to virtualization success. About EMA Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst and consulting firm dedicated to the IT management market. We provide IT vendors and enterprise IT professionals with objective insight into the real-world business value of long-established and emerging technologies, ranging from security, storage and IT Service Management (ITSM) to the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), virtualization and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Learn more about our research services, our free online IT Management Solutions Center, and our IT consulting offerings at: About Andi Mann Andi Mann has more than 20 years of experience with large-scale enterprise systems software on mainframe, midrange, server, and desktop systems. He has worked within the IT departments of various global corporations, and with several enterprise software vendors, leading diverse technical, sales and marketing teams. Recognized as one of the foremost experts on virtualization, Andi has written and spoken extensively on this technology and he is frequently quoted by the press as a thought leader on the topic. Andi s articles on virtualization have appeared in a variety of leading publications, including Business Trends Quarterly and CIOUpdate.com. He is the keynote speaker for InfoWorld s 2008 Virtualization Executive Forum and is slated to speak at the Virtualization Conference & Expo Enterprise Management Associates, Inc Central Avenue, Suite 105 Boulder, CO Phone: , Fax: , Web: EMA, ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, and the mobius symbol are registered trademarks or common-law trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.

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