2012 Prediction: CDW
Federal Virtualization and Cloud in 2012: Evolutionary vs. Revolutionary
Virtualization, a revolutionary solution about eight years ago, is now in an evolutionary phase. 2012 will be the year of virtualization execution and growth: Agencies that haven’t yet virtualized will begin to; those that are partly virtualized will implement management and monitoring tools, and those that are close to completely implemented will move to an automated private cloud model. The Federal cloud mandate – requiring that agencies evaluate cloud computing options prior to making any new investments in IT – is driving significant virtualization investments; other drivers are the cost savings and streamlined management that virtualization offers to agencies trying to do more with the same or fewer resources.
In 2012, some smaller agencies that are just beginning to virtualize will try to make up for lost time by turning to new, fully automated solutions such as Vblock, CloudSystem and FlexPod, which can provide an all-inclusive virtualization infrastructure. While there are benefits to this approach, including nearly immediate cost savings, agencies need to carefully consider their application compatibility and training requirements before moving directly to such solutions. Budget pressures will remain a challenge, especially for agencies wanting to move to a fully automated solution with a big-budget price tag.
Agencies that are midway to entirely virtualized will look to orchestration and integration tools to add additional layers of automation, quickly. As the virtualization environment grows and becomes more complex, agencies will invest in monitoring and management tools.
Among agencies that are 90 percent to 100 percent virtualized, IT managers will move to a fully automated infrastructure. Their focus will be on creating a more nimble and dense infrastructure to reduce rack space, storage and server requirements. Some agencies at this stage will turn to a private cloud model.
CDW-G’s 2011 Cloud Computing Tracking Poll found that 29 percent of Federal agencies are actively implementing or maintaining cloud computing today. Agencies will continue to take a measured approach to the cloud: CDW-G’s poll found that among all agencies, spending on cloud computing is projected at 21 percent of the total IT budget within two years.
If agencies can secure funding for virtualization and cloud investments, they should reap significant savings. CDW-G’s poll found that of active Federal agency cloud implementers, 82 percent say they successfully reduced the cost of their applications by moving them to the cloud – saving an average of 22 percent. Considerable cost savings and peer successes will further build the business case for cloud adoption as agencies continue to pursue cost reductions and streamlined IT management.