Private Clouds And Virtualization Are Falling Short Of Expectations, Symantec Survey Shows

Early adopters of private cloud and several key virtualization usage scenarios are coming up well short of their goals for these technologies, according to a Symantec survey of 3,700 enterprises around the globe. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of enterprises are at least in the discussion/planning stage for these kinds of initiatives.

June 13, 2011

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Early adopters of private cloud and several key virtualization usage scenarios are coming up well short of their goals for these technologies, according to a Symantec survey of 3,700 enterprises around the globe. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of enterprises are at least in the discussion/planning stage for these kinds of initiatives.

The respondents to the 2011 Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud Survey reported substantial gaps between their expectations for storage virtualization, desktop/endpoint virtualization, private storage as a service, and private or hybrid cloud computing. Private storage as a service was the most disappointing of these, with a 37% gap between goals and realization. (The other gaps were 26% for endpoint virtualization, 32% for private/hybrid computing and 33% for storage virtualization).

“Storage as a service is one of the hardest elements to get to in a private cloud model,” says Dan Lamorena, Symantec director of product marketing, storage and high availability. In large part, he says, enterprises have to adopt a very different approach to storage provisioning.

“Typically, storage is still bought on a project-by-project basis. With storage as a service, you have to have some sort of automation in the way you deploy and provision storage. You have to buy ahead of time to match trends and provision as requests come in.”

Specifically, the biggest disappoints in storage as a service were in time to provision, scalability and security.

The one except in expectations vs. reality was server virtualization, where enterprises are hitting their targets (just a 4% gap between goals and achievement). The maturity in this space is the main factor, Lamorena says. Server virtualization has been around for a while; it’s well understood, enterprises have the requisite in-house expertise, and vendors offer strong, mature products.In contrast, most enterprises lack sufficient in-house skills in the other areas. The generally disappointing results of initiatives in the other areas should improve over time, as organizations develop the skill sets, improve their understanding of the processes and as products improve.

“There’s a hype cycle with every new technology; everything is overpromised in the beginning,” Lamorena says.

On the plus side, most organizations are at least planning deployments in all five areas, and many have either implemented or are in the process of implementing each, with private storage (35%) on the low end to server virtualization (45%) on the high end. Only a fraction of the enterprises are not considering these technologies at all.

The United States is far ahead of the rest of the world. For example, 73% of U.S. enterprises have implemented or are implementing server virtualization, vs. 45% globally. For private cloud, the U.S. is at 56% as opposed to 35% globally. Not surprisingly, about two-thirds of large and midsize enterprises report adoption of cloud and virtualization technologies, vs. just under half of small enterprises.

In addition, enterprises are showing some interest in virtualizing business-critical applications in the next year. Three of five are planning to virtualize database applications; just under half will virtualize email and about 40% will virtualize ERP applications.

Enterprises cited vulnerabilities, disaster recovery and encryption as their primary concerns about putting critical applications in private or hybrid cloud environments, although a third said they are doing so. One large telecommunications company said it will not move critical apps to virtual servers for 10 years, Lamorena says. Four out of five respondents identified concern over availability as a major factor in the decision to put critical apps on virtual servers, and 63% cited security as a major challenge.

Interestingly, more than half the respondents said storage costs “somewhat or significantly increased” with server virtualization.

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Research: Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey (subscription required).

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