September 22, 2010

Zenoss Finds VMware Leads the Pack: 2010 Virtualization Study Released

Today Zenoss released its 2010 virtualization and cloud computing survey. The survey takes a look at use of virtualization and cloud computing in the enterprise. Survey says, VMware has a solid lead in virtualization, KVM is making good strides, and companies want better management tools for their infrastructure.

The sample size was a bit small, about 200 members of the Zenoss open source management community. However, the target audience was right on the money. The survey touched on IT managers, server and network admins, virtualization admins, and a number of other job classifications. The conclusions, though from a small slice of the industry, are interesting.

Though the virtualization space has become much more competitive, VMware dominated the survey with nearly four in five (79.3%) saying that they used VMware. Xen was a distant second, with 32.7%, and VirtualBox at 22%. This suggests that respondents are mixing in the use of workstation and server virtualization. Microsoft's HyperV was only in use by 14.7% of those surveyed. It would be good to see more detailed results, and how each company is using the products and which products are in use. For instance, are respondents talking about ESXi, or are they referring to VMware Workstation?

KVM had a good showing in the survey, with nearly 22% saying that KVM was in use. Given that KVM is still relatively new, this is a pretty impressive result. It will be interesting to see how widely used KVM is in 2011.

Trends and Rationale

In addition to asking what platforms are in use, Zenoss also surveyed its community to see which OSes were being deployed on hosted (3rd party) platforms or planning to move to those in 2010. Nearly half (49.2%) are deploying Linux onto virtualization platforms, while nearly a third (32.6%) say they're deploying Microsoft Windows. Just under half are using Software as a Service (Saas) applications like CRMs, and a quarter (25.8%) are planning on hosting data with third parties or doing so already.

It should surprise no one that the number one goal for companies working with virtualization software is cost savings. For the question "what are your goals for improving your virtual infrastructure?" more than 64% of respondents picked cost savings, followed by deployment control — also known as "containing virtual sprawl." 40% of the respondents said that they were "challenged" by virtual sprawl in their environments.

What is surprising is that only 8.7% replied that administrative ease-of-use was a reason for choosing virtualization software. Flexibility was the top reason, more than 43.3% chose that, and 33.3% said they chose virtualization software to save money on hardware.

There's plenty of room left in the management tools space for cloud deployments. According to the survey, fully half of the respondents answered "none" to the question "what tools are you using to manage your cloud infrastructure?" A third of respondents are using Web-based tools from the hosting provider, and just under 10% are using tools specifically meant for cloud infrastructure management. More than 70% of the respondents are on the hunt for a single toolset to rule them all.

Security is the greatest concern with cloud deployments at 39.4%, followed by management tools with 26.5%, and monitoring at 17.4%. Surprisingly, at least to this user, availability concerns came in fourth overall. Presumably this means that IT folks have faith in cloud providers, rather than indicating they're simply not thinking about availability.

Lack of proper accounting tools is another major concern. Not accounting in terms of user quotas, but actually charging departments for the proper use of resources. About 20% of those surveyed said that they would like to see better tools for charging users of virtual resources. Not surprising, since many companies want to ensure that each department is carrying its share of the IT budget. This was much easier to accomplish with physical servers.

Overall, no major surprises from the Zenoss survey. Companies are still finding their way with virtualization and cloud computing, but it's becoming entrenched in most organizations. Management of virtualized resources is still a challenge, and security is the first concern for new technologies — and cost savings a primary motivator.

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