Analysis: The Future of IT is Clearly the Cloud
The world of IT is rapidly changing. It’s no longer economically feasible to keep all of your systems and applications isolated within your data center. In order to survive, organizations need to be able to rapidly deploy new technologies, ramp up services and respond to threats. And as budgets shrink while the need for resources – particularly storage – grows, enterprises are turning to virtualization and cloud computing to provide scalable, on-demand services.
In order to assess how enterprises are responding to these pressures, Symantec recently fielded a survey of 3,700 organizations, representing 35 countries, about the current state of their virtualization and cloud deployments.
The survey focused on the following areas:
- Server virtualization
- Storage virtualization
- Desktop/endpoint virtualization
- Private Storage-as-a-Service
- Private or hybrid cloud computing
The results show that businesses are increasingly using virtualization and cloud technologies with the aim of reducing costs and improving IT agility. However, while they are progressing toward more comprehensive cloud implementation, hurdles still remain before they can take full advantage of the cost savings and increased efficiency cloud computing has to offer. The survey uncovered several current trends as this transition takes place.
The Realities of Virtualization Don’t Always Match Expectations
The survey revealed what enterprises hope to achieve when they first implement virtualization and cloud technologies. Among organizations that have implemented server virtualization, primary goals were to improve scalability, reduce capital and operational expenses, and improve uptime. In virtualizing storage, the most-cited goal was improving overall IT agility. Among those who have virtualized desktops, quickly deploying new endpoints and simplifying application delivery were the goals.
These goals are important for improving IT’s operational efficiency, there are gaps between expectations and goals when enterprises implement these new technologies. In some areas, these gaps are not large. Among enterprises that have implemented server virtualization, the average gap between an anticipated a goals and actual achievements, such as reducing operational expenses, was just four percent. In other areas, however, there were far larger gaps between expectations and reality. The largest gap came with organizations that implemented private Storage-as-a-Service. In this area, there was a 37 percent difference between organizational expectations and what was achieved.
These gaps reveal how markets are maturing as organizations adopt different aspects of virtualization/cloud technologies. Early in the process, businesses first virtualize their servers and then move on to other areas such as desktops. Because more organizations have implemented server virtualization, it is a more mature market segment, with expectations that are more grounded, and vendor solutions that are more fully developed than the other areas discussed in the survey.
Organizations Are Placing Greater Emphasis on Business-Critical Applications
Enterprises are typically cautious when it comes to implementing new technologies, particularly when it comes to business-critical operations. In order to gain the benefits of virtualization, they are initially utilizing test and development environments to assess the potential benefits and risks. Once they become more familiar with the technology's capabilities and limitations, they become more willing to expand the deployment.