Server sprawl stuffs virtualization benefits

Survey finds users hampered by virtual server sprawl, lack of visibility and reporting, and an inability to quantify ROI

If you run a virtualized environment, you are better off using a single vendor's technology, but you probably can't measure your return on investment anyway, according to a recent survey.

Virtual server sprawl, lack of visibility and reporting, and an inability to measure return on investment (ROI) are hampering users, according to a double-blind survey commissioned by CA and carried out Canadian research company The Strategic Counsel. The survey covered 808 organizations with 500 or more employees in Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe, all of whom are adopting virtualization.

Respondents could not say whether their deployment were a success, because they could not quantify ROI.

A big majority -- 71 percent -- are deploying multiple server virtualization technologies, including operating system and hardware virtualization, operating system partitioning, para-virtualization, and/or clustering.

Findings include:

-- Most organizations have more than one server virtualization environment.

-- Server sprawl, increased admin, reporting troubles, multiple skill-sets and the lack of a single management view were all hindering users.

-- Companies that carried out an inventory and consolidated their physical servers got more out of virtualization.

Outfits using multiple technologies to virtualize are suffering, according to report author Warren Shiau. They are 75 percent more likely to complain about higher admin workloads than those who stuck with one technology, 66 percent more likely to complain of higher configuration requirements, 50 percent more likely to suffer server sprawl, and 47 percent more likely to have reporting troubles.

Companies are deploying virtualization to improve utilization reliability and uptime, according to the survey, but they have no idea whether it is working. because of difficulty measuring the performance of the virtualized environment.

HSBC, not part of this study, reported recently on a successful virtualization deployment using a single vendor's technology.

In the study, 30 percent of respondents were from North America, 37 percent were from Europe, and 31 percent from the Asia-Pacific region. Of the organizations surveyed, 67 percent had between 10 and 99 physical servers, and 22 percent had more than 200, and over 100 respondents were based in the U.K.

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