Press Release

STAMFORD, Conn., September 27, 2010 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Virtualization to Be Highest-Impact Issue Challenging Infrastructure and Operations Through 2015

Analysts to Discuss the Future of Virtualization During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando

  More than 80 percent of enterprises now have a virtualization program or project, but only 25 percent of all server workloads will be in a virtual machine (VM) by year-end 2010, according to Gartner Inc. Many IT leaders believe that they have virtualized their x86 servers, but Gartner said they have to plan for two to three times the growth of virtualization in the portfolio.

"Virtualization will continue as the highest-impact issue challenging infrastructure and operations through 2015, changing how you manage, how and what you buy, how you deploy, how you plan and how you charge," said Philip Dawson, research vice president at Gartner. "Virtualization now drives efficient IT from all angles, including data center design, platform updates, and application and infrastructure modernization, as well as traditional and new delivery models, such as infrastructure utility and cloud computing. However, virtualization does take investment; the savings are not a given."

Mr. Dawson said that as virtualization matures, the next "big thing" will be automating the composition and management of the virtualized resources. Storage has already been virtualized, but primarily within the scope of individual vendor architectures. Networking is also virtualized, and the next challenge is server virtualization.

Gartner estimates that approximately 90 percent of the server market is composed of x86 architecture servers, but based on a traditional model of one application per server, roughly 80 to 90 percent of the x86 computing capacity is unused at any time. Virtualization promises to unlock much of this underutilized capacity. As such, many IT organizations are approaching server virtualization as a cost-saving measure, and it is saving money. However, organizations that have a mature server virtualization deployment in place are leveraging virtualization for much more: faster deployments, reduced downtime, disaster recovery, variable usage accounting and usage chargeback, holistic capacity planning and more.

From a desktop perspective, hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) transfer the thick-client computing environment that runs on a PC to a server, removing some management overhead from the desktop location and allowing administrators to centralize their activities. This centralization allows IT to move some of the management activities that sit on a PC to a server, enabling administrators to manage desktops in a central location. While this enhances flexibility for administration, it does require more computing and storage capacity at the data center level.

"HVDs are poised to undergo explosive growth, and enterprises are anticipating the flexibility and other benefits that these devices will bring. HVDs provide end-user flexibility, efficiency, energy savings and other benefits, enabling administrators to manage desktops from a centralized location and end users to access their desktops from machines in any location," said Mr. Dawson. "However, enterprises need to understand the strain this technology can place on their data center infrastructures and operations, especially when thousands of employees use this platform type."

Gartner analysts said virtualized licensing continues to present a major stumbling block to widespread adoption of virtualization. As vendors change their software pricing and associated license provisions to accommodate virtual use, negotiators must plan to spend an increased amount of time per contract to understand the effect of such changes on planned software use. Gartner believes that organizations that do not diligently monitor the ways each vendor is responding to virtual use issues are likely to experience significantly increased costs and the unintended impairment of their current license rights.

Additional information is available in the report "ATV: Virtualization Reality." The report focuses on the impact of virtualization on traditional IT areas of servers, desktops, storage and management, as well as the future impact and planning aspects. The report is available on Gartner's website at

This research is part of the Gartner Special Report "Virtualization." The Special Report examines how virtualization can enhance flexibility and agility by detaching workloads and data from the functional side of physical infrastructure. The Special Report includes links to more than 50 Gartner documents covering various issues concerning virtualization. The Special Report is on Gartner's website at

Gartner analysts will discuss the key issues concerning virtualization at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held October 17-21 in Orlando, Florida.

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Additional information is available at Members of the media can register for the event by contacting Christy Pettey at

Additional information from the event will be shared on Twitter at and using #GartnerSym.

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:
October 17-21, Orlando, Florida:
25-27, Tokyo, Japan:
November 8-11, Cannes,
November 16-18, Sydney,


About Gartner

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