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Virtual Cultures

4:00 PM -- Despite the obvious technology challenges associated with virtualization, a number of IT managers that I spoke to this week highlighted cultural issues as their major virtualization hurdle. (See Users Talk Virtual Tension.)

Worringly, users are struggling with both internal resistance and unrealistic expectations from within their organizations. Working out how to walk this tightrope will be key to successful virtual roll-out.

"The biggest challenge is acceptance and getting these people that are more used to traditional [technology] models to drink the Kool-Aid," says Dennis Robinson, technical infrastructure manager at Pennsylvania-based healthcare firm Gennex Services, which has just started to roll-out VMware's ESX Server software. (See VMware Unveils Upgrade.)

"There are technical people in the organization, application owners, that are nervous about it because it is so new," he adds. "They would prefer to not to move their systems over to a virtualized environment."

This issue has already derailed some users' virtualization efforts, according to StorageIO Group analyst Greg Schulz. "It's certainly a risk," he told Byte & Switch. "There are some [firms] that have tried virtualization and have backed away from it."

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