Virtualisation is set to be the major driver of IT spending and strategy in the coming years according to a report from Gartner.
The research firm called virtualisation the "highest-impact trend" for IT through 2012, predicting it will determine how IT administrators manage, buy, deploy and plan their future strategies. And it won't just be the major enterprises that jump on the virtualisation bandwagon either.
"Most of the growth for virtualisation thus far has been in the (large) enterprises," Phillip Lawson, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said. "VMware has been fairly monolithic in its success, but we think as Microsoft enters we're going to see the mid-range and smaller enterprises really open up and adopt virtualisation."
The driving factor behind the growth, according to Gartner, will be server virtualisation, which the research firm said contributed to a four percent drop in the x86 server market in 2006. The report states that about 90 percent of the server market is composed of x86 architecture servers. Based on the traditional model of one application per server, Gartner said, roughly 80 to 90 percent of server computing capacity is unused.
Gartner analysts also predict that more than four million virtual machines will be installed on x86 servers by next year - which is almost as many virtual PCs in operation today.
And with server virtualisation allowing organisations to quickly provision virtual machines within a matter of minutes, Gartner said another strong factor in the virtualisation boom will be the significant growth of virtual PC deployment. The research group expects the number of virtualised machines to grow from fewer than five million in 2007 to about 660 million by 2011.