List of 2012 Virtualization Trends Released: Virtual Servers Doing More Than Ever

By | Mar 29, 2012

Virtualization has in large part become old hat for even small and midsized businesses, something ordinary rather than buzz-worthy. As newer versions of off-site technology move into the spotlight, the virtualization market is maturing, offering more robust options to midsized IT admins looking to move away from the local server. Research firm Gartner recently announced what it believes are the top 2012 virtualization trends, many of which point to a rapidly changing technology space.

Looking Forward

The list released earlier this week by Gartner discusses five trends in server virtualization poised to impact this dynamic market. First is a maturing of competitive choice. In other words, VMWare is no longer the only player in this game. Pricing models are also in a state of evolution, and Gartner predicts they will continue as competition among virtualized and cloud providers intensifies.

"Second sourcing" is also on the rise as companies move toward having a second virtual technology in their workspace, often in a different area of the organization. In large part, this is an attempt to avoid lock-ins with established providers and keep an eye on prices. The addition of secondary virtual technologies also means an increase in market saturation, and Gartner predicts virtualization will soon hit 50-percent penetration. Meanwhile, cloud providers are making choices about which virtualized technologies to back. Virtualization is often the on-ramp to a private or hybrid cloud, meaning that cloud companies need to make the choice between supporting an existing virtual model, defining standards they expect to be followed or creating their own versions of this software.

While these changes reflect a market in its adolescence rather than infancy, they don't point to stability. Big players have a hold on some niches in the industry, but start-ups are able to finding footing thanks to infrastructure already in place, each with their own unique spin on how the technology is best used.

It Has Everything!

According to a recent article at ZDNet, the function of virtualization is broadening in businesses of all sizes. Speaking at a panel discussion about the role of virtualization in evolving IT, VMWare CTO Steve Herrod called the technology "the Swiss army knife of IT" and went on to argue that the evolution of virtualization lies in its ability to be used for a wide variety of purposes.

At the same panel, David Giambruno of Revlon spoke about the 15,000 automated application moves his company is making per month, its accumulated cost savings (or cost avoidance) of up to $70 million thanks to virtualization, and 300-percent increase in project throughput and 70-percent reduction in development time for applications. The Revlon CTO went on to compare virtualization in IT to an iPad, making the case for a platform that works without any hassles and with the need for minimal front-line training.

Gartner's list of 2012 virtualization trends sees a market that is evolving, but not one that's finished with its growing pains just yet. As the need for virtual technology to be all things for all businesses increases, midsize IT can expect to see a greater range of provider choices along with a significant broadening of what can be done with virtual platforms. It's no longer enough for big-name providers to be good at what they've always done--they'll need to deal with a market in flux if they want to survive.

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