A study of more than 400 IT professionals revealed that 95% of organisations have migrated (28%) – or are planning to migrate in the next 12 months (67%) – to a virtualised IT environment as a means of improving their disaster recovery options.
And the same percentile again (95%) said that storage area networks already form (30%) – or will form in the next 12 months (65%) – part of their virtualised infrastructure.
One of the storage exposition and conference planned keynote speakers, John Abbot, founder and chief analyst with The 451 Group, said that the most significant change that virtualisation brings to the mix is the isolation of workloads from the underlying hardware.
This translates, he says, to enhanced flexibility and the removal of the need to implement and maintain a single, uniform platform, resulting in significantly reduced costs, due to lower redundancy and higher utilisation.
According to Mr Abbott, whilst the added complexity at the planning stage of virtualisation can act as a barrier to new business, “once users gain more confidence in the emerging set of new tools, then sales will accelerate. When properly implemented, virtual infrastructures can form the basis of automated backup, retention, business-continuance and disaster-recovery processes.”
Careful planning, however, he said, is required to achieve the best value for money. “For instance, many secondary applications could get by with the ‘good enough’ capabilities of VMware High Availability,” he explained.
Abbot makes the interesting prediction that – over the next 12 to 18 months – the virtualisation market will change.
Current vendors, he said, must adapt to these changes. Fortunately, he says, most of them have already moved beyond a focus on local high availability toward remote availability and disaster recovery.
“Although VMware is still the dominant player by far, it’s a certainty that Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat will gain significant market traction,” he explained.
It’s against this backdrop that Abbot said that cloud-based disaster recovery services represent an opportunity for vendors. It is, however, he said, unlikely this type of business will go to the consumer-oriented cloud services such as Amazon and Google.
“Traditional hosting vendors like SunGard are already moving in, targeting small businesses that are virtualising their primary sites but haven’t had the resources to set up their own remote disaster-recovery site,” he explained.