Virtualisation used to be an activity that only the largest organisations could afford or justify.
For those organisations, the siloed client/server architectures they had built up during the 1980s and 1990s meant that storage and computing power were wasted. The challenge was increased by the introduction of call centres in the 1980s and ecommerce in the 1990s, with customers expecting round-the-clock service.
With first storage area networking and then server virtualisation, major organisations were able to pool their IT resources so that they could be shared by different applications.
However, the cost of the hardware and software required to virtualise an IT environment limited that approach to the very biggest organisations that could both afford the cost and reap the biggest savings.
Not any more. Now mid-sized organisations are now adopting virtualisation technology as well. And they are not just looking to cut hardware and IT management costs – they are deploying the technology in order to radically improve their levels of service.
This is reflected by research and forecasts from Gartner, which reports in the latest Magic Quadrant for x86
Server Virtualisation Infrastructure that, “As of mid-2011, at least 40% of x86 architecture workloads have been virtualised on servers.” Furthermore, virtualisation will soon become the norm for delivering corporate applications, with the installed base forecast to increase fivefold between 2010 and 2015, covering 75% of workloads.
The Royal College of General Practitioners and Autonet Insurance are just two mid-sized organisations, with no more than about 500 staff each, that have taken very different approaches to the virtualisation of their IT infrastructures in recent projects.