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Private Clouds, Virtualization Fall Short Of Expectations

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," said Dan Lamorena, Symantec director of product marketing, storage, and high availability. In large part, he said, 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 said. 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 said.

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