Virtualization in the Enterprise Survey: Your Virtualized State in 2008

Users are working hard to manage complex IT environments while figuring out how far they can push server virtualization without sacrificing application service levels, according to CIO's first survey on virtualization.

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You're knee-deep in virtualization, and you love the ROI that you've seen so far. But you're also grappling with tough technical and political challenges posed by today's hottest technology, according to CIO's first survey on virtualization.

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The top challenges? First, figuring out just how far you can push your physical servers by piling on more and more virtual machines (VMs) without slowing down application service levels, and next, getting experts from across IT silos to plan and manage the virtualized environment together. "Nobody likes change, even when there is often a better way of doing things," says Stephen Elliot, a research manager with IDC (a sister company to CIO.com's publisher). "It takes work and a mindset to reinvent IT and ourselves."

The good news: The payback on virtualization really pops. Server virtualization, in particular, is spreading a lot of love; so far, happiness is harder to come by on the desktop.

Here's what nearly 300 CIOs who responded to the survey shared about their experiences to date with the virtualization mega-trend, along with forward-looking advice to help you make the most of virtualization efforts in the year ahead (Numbers on some tables may not add to 100 percent due to rounding). Click to share your own experiences with virtualization.

Not Just For Servers Anymore

While many enterprises started their virtualization efforts with test and development servers in the data center, today's pioneers are virtualizing desktop PCs, running them from a VM on a server in the back room or running VMs on top of a guest operating system on the local machine.

Where You Use Virtualization

Servers or Data Center 85%
Storage 37%
Desktops 34%
None of the above 8%

(Respondents chose all that apply)

SOURCE: CIO Research

Masters of Virtual Disaster Recovery

In addition to the obvious cost-cutting benefits, a desire for better disaster recovery plans drives many CIOs to adopt virtualized servers. IT leaders like Vincent Biddlecombe, CTO of logistics provider Transplace, use VMs to copy their production servers to disaster recovery facilities. As for flexibility and speed, Biddlecombe can provision a new server in 30 minutes instead of a week. When a Transplace business executive needs a new customer demonstration environment, IT can do in half an hour.

Reasons to Virtualize Servers

Cut costs via server consolidation 81%
Improve disaster recovery and backup plans 63%
Provision computing resources to end users more quickly 55%
Offer more flexibility to the business 53%
Provide competitive advantage 13%

(Respondents chose up to three)

SOURCE: CIO Research

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