Focus on... Virtualisation

He said: "In the early days of virtualisation there were some applications particularly high-end transactional databases which weren't suitable for running in virtual machines. The virtualisation software on a server did carry with it an overhead which affected the performance of some applications."

"However, improvements in our resource management capabilities, the amount of physical resources which can be assigned to virtual machines, and advanced features such as memory over-commitment mean that there are now very few applications which are not suitable for virtualisation."


The benefits of virtualisation, especially in our current economic climate, focus on cost reductions. This isn't just the fact you need to buy less hardware, you also get rid of those additional operational costs such as staff managing the system or the high price of power and cooling.

There are still risks though. A spokesperson from Acronis said: "Many IT managers place most of their focus on picking the right virtualisation platform and do not spend enough time considering how they will protect their data and perform backups in a virtual environment once the project is complete. Like in a physical environment, developing a disaster recovery plan should be the first thing that IT administrators address when deploying a server."

It wasn't just the back up specialist company who drew attention to the risks. Andrew Barnes, senior vice president of corporate development at Neverfail, said: "It is well documented that virtualisation increases server flexibility and utilisation while reducing operational costs; however, although the benefits are plentiful, organisations must also address some of the risks that come with moving to a virtual infrastructure, including threats to continuous system availability and potential problems encountered during the physical to virtual (P2V) migration."


Which of the companies provide these services then? It seems that every man and his dog are jumping on the virtualisation bandwagon at the moment with large providers such as Dell, HP and IBM offering both hardware, software and services focused around the move to smaller start up companies who want to join the move as momentum grows.


The question is will this ever take off fully and will everyone virtualise their physical environments? Of course there are the risks and benefits as we have previously outlined but it is a large shift for the industry to take on board.

Research analyst firm IDC recently released a report that predicted in 2009 the number of virtual machines would overtake the number of physical machines.

Nathaniel Martinez, programme director for European enterprise servers at IDC, said in a statement at the time: "We believe the current economic crisis to be increasingly intertwined with virtualisation adoption, as the combined need to squeeze costs with the existing assets and the weak demand for new hardware are accelerating its technological impact within customer installed bases."

And it seems others would follow their predictions. Edmund England, senior European marketing manager for Dell's large enterprise arm, said: "The question isn't will businesses virtualise, but when, and who can provide the platforms and services to make the rollout a success."

Looking for guidance?

Click here to read our Top 10 virtualisation tips.

Click here to hear from a business that has already embraced virtualisation.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.