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Forrester: Businesses Adopting Virtualization

Server virtualization is being implemented at the majority of firms, in both enterprise (1,000 seats or more) and small-to-medium (SMB) business segments, according to two separate Forrester Research reports. The reports are based on a poll of 2,686 "technology decision-makers" in the United States and Europe.

More than half of the businesses surveyed said they have implemented, or will implement, server virtualization in the next 12 months.

The use of VMware's virtualization software led the charge in x86 server virtualization in both the enterprise (50 percent) and SMB (52 percent), according to the reports. Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software ranked as the second most preferred solution. Twenty-two percent of enterprises and 18 percent of SMBs reported that they are either using Hyper-V or expect to use it this year.

Neither survey covered virtualization for x64-based hardware.

The move toward virtualizing operating system (OS) instances is also gaining steam. Enterprises reported a 31 percent OS virtualization rate today, and they expect that rate to rise to more than 50 percent in two years' time. SMBs currently virtualize 36 percent of their OSes and they anticipate that rate to reach more than 60 percent in two years.

Cloud computing is somewhat nascent technology for businesses. However, 46 percent of enterprises and 34 percent of SMBs reported that they are reviewing their cloud computing options. Only five percent of enterprises and two percent of SMBs currently use cloud services, according to the reports.

Enterprises (70 percent) and SMBs (74 percent) also hoped to use desktop or client virtualization to lower the costs of maintaining PCs. Server-hosted applications are being used by 18 percent of SMB responders, while more than 30 percent said they were using variations (server or local) of desktop virtualization solutions.

The use of virtualization for energy savings in data centers was of interest for more than 80 percent of enterprise responders, Forrester found, but just 18 percent were "very interested" in accomplishing it.

The surveys were conducted in the third quarter of 2008 by Forrester Business Data Services. The results are summarized in "The State of Emerging Enterprise Hardware Trends," and "The State of Emerging SMB Hardware Trends" (for Forrester RoleView clients).

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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