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Number of Organizations With At Least 50% Of Their Servers Virtualized Is Expected To Double In 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- VMworld -- Centrify Corporation today announced the results of a survey of 480 IT professionals about the virtualized data center. In significant numbers, across organizations large and small, the respondents disclosed they are deploying a wide mix of virtualized platforms including virtualization technology built into UNIX, Linux and Windows operating systems. While VMware, with 60%, has the largest penetration in organizations, 32% claimed they use VMware exclusively. Approximately half of the respondents that use VMware said they expect to increase their usage of these platforms, and about the same number said they may evaluate other platforms in the future. After VMware, Microsoft has the next largest penetration (25.5%) distributed across all sizes of environments. But the survey also revealed that security and compliance are concerns and potential inhibitors to the deployment of virtualization technologies. Despite security issues, the survey found that the rate of virtualization is very rapid; nearly 26% of the respondents today have virtualized at least half of their systems. In less than 18 months, that number will double, so that by the end of 2010, 51% expect to have the majority of their systems virtualized.

Virtualization Market Dynamics: The survey results showed that server virtualization platforms are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and they reflect the diversity of OSes in the physical server environments. 58% of the respondent organizations have Hypervisors from more than one vendor. They are deploying bare-metal hypervisors from vendors such as VMware and Citrix while, in parallel, they leverage virtualization technology built into the latest AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux and Windows operating systems. Over 24% of virtualized environments have no VMware at all and are using virtualized using solutions from Microsoft, IBM, Citrix, Sun, HP, and others exclusively and in combinations.

Security concerns: The respondents were forthcoming about their security concerns. Though they were implementing a range of security controls, they were not confident about whether they had complete control of the security of their virtual systems. According to the respondents, security, compliance and operational issues were the top three concerns. 70% believed they had orphan accounts on UNIX/Linux, 44% shared root passwords, 55% were unsure about how well they managed privileged user accounts. Overall, concern about security was the leading reason (46%) that virtualization could be slowed. As the CSO of an enterprise with thousands of servers and more than 80,000 people noted in one of his responses, "We are playing catch-up, cost drivers pushed virtualization without [us] properly looking at [the] security impact."

"The diversity of virtual platforms in organizations will create new vulnerabilities," said Frank Cabri, vice president of marketing and product management at Centrify. "Because creating a new server in a virtual environment is as easy as copying a file -- and in some instances the software is free -- the rigor that used to accompany setting up a server has been bypassed. Ensuring appropriate access controls and privileges is critical in this environment."

The survey asked how the organizations are securing their data centers now. Several different approaches were in wide-spread use at organizations to control user authentication including Directory-based solutions (Active Directory / LDAP Directory). Half of the respondents are still using system specific (etc/password), while half of those remaining 20% who are using NIS are planning to discontinue usage. In addition, the majority of the organizations are overlaying user authentication solutions with either sudo or role-based access control solutions to further control user authorizations and privileges. In spite of the layers of security, when asked if their systems were completely secure from unauthorized access, only 28% reported being strongly confident in the security of their physical servers and fewer (20%) were strongly confident about their virtualized environment.

About the Survey

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