Big data, VM sprawl challenge virtualization adopters in HK
By Asia Cloud Forum staff 30-Dec-2011
Explosive data growth and virtual machine sprawl are poising as new challenges to enterprises in Hong Kong as they increase the adoption of virtualization.
These will demand increased investment in management solutions to control costs and ensure IT efficiency, said Matthew Cheung, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Gartner earlier forecast that, in 2012, Hong Kong enterprises will spend HK$106.4 million (US$13.7 million) on virtualization infrastructure software, up 14.9% over 2011 (“Market Trends: IT Services, Asia/Pacific, 2011-2012,” Gartner, 23 September 2011)
"Server virtualization has been steadily gaining ground among enterprises in Hong Kong during 2011. However, one of the unintended consequences that has emerged is what you might call VM sprawl," said Cheung.
VM sprawl, short for virtual machine sprawl, is referred to the uncontrolled growth of virtual servers in the data center. "In many cases this can actually increase the total cost of ownership of IT infrastructure and wipe out the economic benefits associated with virtualization," he said.
Cheung believes that a key area of focus for these enterprises in 2012 must be around the management of these virtual servers.
"As most organizations will continue to have a combination of physical and virtual machines in their data centers, IT must plan for tighter integration and management of these assets in order to truly benefit from the economic promises of virtualization," he said.
Big data fans software sales
The explosion in data volumes is another unintended consequence of many current virtualization implementations. However, as Cheung noted, enterprise IT departments are increasingly less keen on resolving the problem simply by buying more storage.
"What they really want is a software solution that will help them better utilize existing hardware, including software-based solutions like deduplication and thin provisioning. Together with virtualization, storage management software will be hot in 2012. Companies looking at virtualization should also look at storage management in tandem for better utilization of storage resources," he says.
Automation is key
As enterprise understanding of IT virtualization continues to mature, Cheung predicts the next area to gain traction among local firms in 2012 will be desktop virtualization. However, he warns, this too offers hurdles that must be considered carefully.
He points out that unlike server virtualization, where economics was the overriding motivation for deployment, desktop virtualization is much more about regaining control of the desktop.
"For years IT has seen its control over what is installed on the desktop erode as employees install software they believed was important to them. Unfortunately this has created issues such compatibility with officially supported applications and posed management concerns -- not just around data security and privacy, but also the integrity of the infrastructure against rogue applications running wild in the network," Cheung explained.
While the road to cloud computing begins with virtualization, Cheung believes that automation is one of two critical components that will help IT move the organization to the cloud.
"Along the journey, we expect enterprises to test the waters with private cloud projects. IT needs to transform itself into a service unit rather than just a call center or fulfillment center. This service-oriented mentality will be critical to IT's successful migration of the enterprise into the cloud. We will see much more of that in 2012," he said.