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Virtualisation research points to caution for end users

Industry churn due to emerging virtualisation trends will create uncertainty for end user strategies says Gartner

Research company Gartner said virtualisation, as a high impact trend, is creating a wave of competition among infrastructure vendors that will cause market disruption and consolidation over the next few years.

It has predicted that virtualisation will be the highest-impact trend affecting infrastructure and operations through 2012.

Thomas Bittman, vice president and analyst at Gartner, advised enterprises against following a specific vendor's vision. He instead advised users to determine their own vision of architecture control and build toward it with a constantly updated strategic plan because of the uncertainty that will prevail over the market in the short-to-medium term.

"In the medium term, align your virtualisation strategy with the business, avoid vendor hype and beware of software pricing and licensing," he said. "Be prepared to experiment, but make sure that you are the scientist, not the subject."

Gartner predicts that virtualisation will change how IT is managed, what is bought, how it is deployed, how companies plan and how they are charged.

"Virtualisation is hardly a new concept; storage has already been virtualised - albeit primarily within the scope of individual vendor architectures - and networking is also virtualised," said Philip Dawson, vice president and analyst at Gartner.

"However, as both server and PC virtualisation become more pervasive, traditional IT infrastructure orthodoxy is being challenged and is changing the way business works with IT," he added.

Server virtualisation is already impacting the market, having reduced the x86 server market by 4% in 2006, according to Gartner. Increased competition leading to reduced prices for hypervisors will lead to a larger impact, with more than 4 million virtual machines installed on x86 servers by 2009.

Gartner analysts also predict a steep rise in PC virtualisation, with the number of virtualised PCs expected to grow from less than 5 million in 2007 to 660 million by 2011.

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