Server virtualisation 'close to inflection point' - IDC

Virtualisation technology is significantly impacting the server market, and the way datacenters are and will be built and managed. A study by IDC has shown that the number of server systems shipped with a virtualisation platform on top has increased by 26.5 per cent in 2008 compared to 2007, reaching 358,000 units in the Western European countries.

The drop in hardware spending will lead to a break point in 2009, IDC says, as VM shipments will be more than 10 per cent higher than physical server shipments. In 2013, the ratio between virtual and physical server shipments will be 3:2. In parallel, the number of logical machines (physical and virtual) shipped is expected to grow strongly, and IDC projects they will increase by 15.7 per cent through 2013.This makes management tools more and more pivotal, as both virtual and physical servers have to be operated, monitored, and patched.

“In 2008, approximately 18.3 per cent of all servers shipped in Western Europe were virtualized, against 14.6 per cent in 2007, and we expect the percentage to grow to almost 21 per cent in 2010,” says Giorgio Nebuloni, research analyst with IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions. “Last year, and for the first time ever, the number of virtual machine (VM) shipments exceeded the number of physical servers shipped, topping 2m units.”

The current economic crisis is “increasingly intertwined with virtualization adoption”, Nebuloni adds, as the combined need to squeeze costs with the existing assets and the weak demand for new hardware are accelerating its technological impact within customer installed bases.

The study, ‘Western Europe Server Virtualization Forecast and Analysis, 2007–2013’ focuses on 16 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK). Based on data from the latest IDC EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker and Forecast, along with input from IDC surveys on virtualisation conducted in the region over the last few years, it includes details by geography, organization size, and CPU type.

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