The number of new server systems sold with a virtualisation platform on top increased by 26.5% in 2008 in Western Europe, reaching 358,000 units, according to IDC.
As a result, 18.3% of all servers ‘shipped’ into Western Europe were virtualised, up from 14.6% in 2007. IDC expects that percentage to grow to almost 21% in 2010.
Critically, says IDC analyst Giorgio Nebuloni, “last year, and for the first time ever, the number of virtual machine (VM) shipments exceeded the number of physical servers shipped, topping 2 million units."
The drop in hardware spending will lead to a breakin point in 2009, as the number of virtual machines shipped will be more than 10% higher than physical servers sold. In 2013, the ratio between virtual and physical server shipments will be 3:2, IDC calculates.
Commenting on the inflection point, IDC analyst Nathaniel Martinez said the pace of virtualisation’s success was “increasingly intertwined with the current economic crisis.”
“The combined need to squeeze costs with existing assets and the weak demand for new hardware are accelerating [virtualisation’s] technological impact within customer installed bases,” he said.
IDC predicted that the rising number of virtualised machines would make systems management tools “more and more pivotal, as both virtual and physical servers have to be operated, monitored, and patched.”