Red Hat study shows virtualization will keep growing

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With the rise of exciting new technologies like containers, virtualization might sometimes seem like it’s old hat. But not according to Red Hat Inc., whose latest research shows that enterprise adoption is still on the rise.

In a new survey of over 900 enterprise information technology pros, Red Hat discovered that virtualization is still gaining traction thanks to its ability to drive server consolidation, reduce provisioning times, serve as platform for app development and deployment and save enterprises money.

Red Hat’s survey ranked the top three benefits of virtualization:

  • Faster server provisioning (55 percent)
  • Cost benefits (49 percent)
  • Server consolidation (47 percent)

While that’s not so surprising, what does raise eyebrows is the news that enterprises plan to increase their investments in the older tech. Respondents indicated they’re likely to increase spending on virtualized workloads by 20 percent, and virtualized infrastructure by 18 percent in the next two years.

The increased investment comes as a surprise mainly because of the rise of containers, which have the potential to save enterprises even more money, as they allow for more applications to be run per server than virtual machines do. But an explanation can perhaps be found in the most important capabilities of virtualization, which are their reliability (79 percent), high availability (73 percent), and performance (70 percent). Containers, on the other hand, while not discussed in this report, are still an emerging and therefore not completely trusted technology.

The survey also looked at what enterprises are using virtualization for, and found that the most popular virtualized workloads are web applications (73 percent), web application servers (70 percent) and databases (67 percent). In addition, some 85 percent of enterprises said they use WMs for application development, while 61 percent also follow through by deploying those apps on virtualized infrastructure.

Still, virtualization isn’t without its challenges. Almost 40 percent of enterprises cited budgets and costs as the main challenge. The problem is largely due to the setup costs, which include things like proprietary software licenses and extensive consulting. Workload migration costs also add up, the survey found.

A second challenge lies in VM management and its complexity, which isn’t helped by the fact that 75 percent of system administrators use multiple management tools built into each product, or separate third-party tools.

That said, neither of those challenges will impede virtualization’s growth. As well as the increased investment in infrastructure and VM workloads, enterprises also indicated they would boost spending in areas such as virtualized networking (49 percent) and storage (45 percent).

So what does all this tell us about the current state of virtualization? Well, according to Red Hat, it tells us the technology is likely to be a mainstay of enterprise IT for some time to come.

“For starters, virtualization seems here to stay,” the company said in its report. “Challenges remain, particularly in the overall costs of virtualization deployments, but the benefits of virtualization can be still readily accessible to enterprises looking to capitalize on the technology.”

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