Virtualization News

Cost Proves Biggest Benefit, Challenge for Virtualization

While reduced overall cost is a major driving force in virtualization adoption, migration costs may delay healthcare organizations from embracing it.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Enterprise IT departments are using virtualization to consolidate servers, increase provisioning time, and provide infrastructure for developers to build and deploy applications, according to a recent survey conducted by Red Hat.

Virtualization Migration

Red Hat surveyed over 900 enterprise IT administrators, systems architects, and IT managers across all industries. Respondents revealed that pressure to reduce costs, faster provisioning, and server consolidation were the top reasons for migrating to virtualization technology.

Red Hat’s survey found that the most common virtualized workloads were websites (73 percent), web application servers (70 percent) and databases (67 percent). IT experts also reported that reliability (79 percent), high availability (73 percent), and performance (70 percent) were the most important capabilities of virtualization.

For healthcare organizations exploring new solutions to cut IT costs, virtualization can eliminate the need for much infrastructure hardware. Organizations do not have to fully virtualize their IT environment to gain cost and efficiency benefits from virtualization. Virtualizing servers or implementing software-defined solutions such as networking, storage and, computing are several virtualizations options organizations can implement to support parts of their networks.

Application development was found to be a large use of virtualization technology with 85 percent of respondents indicating that they develop on virtual machines, with another 61 percent saying they also deploy these applications on virtualized infrastructure.

Survey respondents named cost and management to be the two biggest challenges for virtual deployments, naming cost as an incentive as well as a drawback for virtualization.

Red Hat analysts explained, “though it might seem odd for cost to be both a benefit and a challenge, it’s all about context - in the long run, virtualization can save enterprises money. But getting there takes money, and this may be especially true with proprietary software, licenses and extensive consulting services required for some implementations.”

Management also proved to be a challenge for virtual enterprise IT deployments. While virtualization does offer easier management, 75 percent of respondents are using separate management tools built into each virtualization product or separate third-party tools. Using separate tools to manage virtualization solutions negates the management benefits of consolidating servers and other infrastructure features.

When asked what technologies IT professionals would deploy instead of virtualization in two years, the most popular according to respondents are private cloud (60 percent) and containers (41 percent). This reveals how these respondents may work to both optimize existing IT and build out new, cloud-native infrastructure or workloads.

Organizations potentially face challenges with implementing and deploying virtual servers in conjunction with legacy solutions if IT staff are not prepared to manage the process. According to Gartner analysts, more than one-third of organizations (35 percent) will have implemented a form of data virtualization by decade’s end. Gartner’s predictions include data virtualization adoption across all enterprise industries.

Healthcare organizations face a rapid growth of data in the coming years as more devices connect, producing more data. Medical equipment and other IoT devices are gaining traction in the healthcare industry. Virtual environments are built to handle more data and give users an easier way to retrieve that data.

The goal of virtualization is to eliminate hardware expenses and increase productivity by providing quick and mobile access to data. Healthcare organizations need to weigh the cost and potential productivity benefits of virtualized IT infrastructure and servers against the potential outright cost of deployment. Virtualized environments are expected to grow and organizations are likely to benefit from it in the future.

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