Survey: Interest in server virtualization overstated

Server virtualization may be enterprise computing's latest technology, but a recent survey of corporate IT buyers shows that near-term adoption may not match the hype.

According to an August survey of IT decision-makers by Natick, Mass.-based Sage Research Inc., 38 percent say they plan to deploy server virtualization technology within the next year. However, according to Chris Neal, head of the technology practice at Sage, the percentage of organizations that will actually follow through on those plans is likely about half that figure, or less than 20 percent.

Neal said the results are "inflated" due to factors out of the decision-makers' control, primarily whether they will get the needed funding from their organizations.

Moreover, other results of the survey, which involved 265 IT decision-makers at companies with 500 or more employees, show that organizations that are already using server virtualization or that are interested in the technology are doing so mostly to increase efficiency and utilization of their servers (84 percent) and lower data center costs (72 percent) -- the basic and successful marketing mantra espoused by current market leader VMware Inc.

Only 28 percent of respondents said they were interested in server virtualization to support a shift to utility computing, while 45 percent said they were interested in more easily supporting multiple operating systems, and 51 percent were interested in increasing processing capabilities.

The lower interest in features outside of basic cost reduction and efficiency gain is coupled with little evidence of interest in cutting-edge alternative approaches to server virtualization.