Security Experts:

Virtualization: Deploy Efficiently or You'll be Disappointed with Cost Savings

For most organizations utilizing virtualization, cost savings is the driving factor in deploying the technology. But the cost savings associated with virtualization may not be all they have been cracked up to be—if it’s not done right.

CA Technologies VirtualizationAccording to the results of a recent survey released by CA Technologies, a majority of respondents cited reducing costs (85 percent) and increasing server utilization (84 percent) as the primary reasons to deploy virtualization. Interestingly, 63 percent of those respondents said they have not experienced the level savings they expected through implementing virtualization, and five percent said the complexities of virtualization had actually introduced new costs.

"Virtualization is a bean counter's dream, but it can be an operational nightmare," stated respondent Ian Watts, senior technical manager of BT Americas, Inc. "Change management is a huge overhead, as any changes need to be accepted by all applications and users sharing the same virtualization kit. While many organizations are seeing benefits from virtualization, such as reduced hardware spending and improved server utilization, these benefits often get overshadowed by the lack of productivity improvements in data center staffing and operations."

State of IT Automation CA Technologies SurveyThe survey on the state of IT automation surveyed 460 IT decision-makers from medium and large enterprises found that 95 percent of respondents have implemented, are piloting, or plan to implement virtualization in their organization.

CA Technologies cites a direct correlation between IT service automation in a virtualized environment and cost-savings. For example, 44 percent of respondents who said most of their server provisioning processes are automated report they have significantly reduced costs through virtualization. On the other hand, 48 percent of those who said the complexities of virtualization have introduced new costs also said most of their servers are provisioned through a manual process.

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"This survey further demonstrates that the promised benefits of virtualization and cloud computing will be hard to realize without first standardizing and automating routine IT processes," said Roger Pilc, general manager, Virtualization and Automation, CA Technologies. "Without automation, IT staff can be overwhelmed by the complexities and challenges of managing a highly distributed IT infrastructure consisting of virtual and physical servers, applications and dynamic cloud-based services. These complexities can negate any benefits organizations hope to realize as this data shows."

For organizations to become more efficient and to realize the full benefits from virtualization and cloud computing, they need to automate and integrate the physical and virtual server configuration, provisioning, monitoring, security, software patching across the enterprise. CA Technologies says IT automation is needed to ease management across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

While I don’t question the results of the survey, it’s important to realize that for those who are “doing virtualization right”, are certainly attaining significant cost savings. Virtualization is arguably the most innovative, game changing technology of the decade and no organization should be discouraged from deploying virtualization technology where it makes sense. Just to it right and have the right tools in place to efficiently manage virtual deployments—especially larger ones. Any technology not deployed correctly and efficiently is likely to incur additional operating costs, or yield lower benefit than a polished and well executed deployment.

The survey was conducted by UBM TechWeb on behalf of CA Technologies. The full report is available here as a free PDF download with no registration required.

Related Virtualization Reading:

Ten Criteria for Evaluating Virtualization Security Solutions

The Questions You Want Answered about Virtualization Security

Strategies for PCI Compliance in Virtualized Environments

Security Concerns Slow Move of Business-Critical Applications to Virtualized Servers

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.