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Server virtualization: Virtual disaster recovery takes hold

Server virtualization is wildly popular among respondents to the 2007 data center purchasing survey respondents. More users are turning to server virtualization for disaster recovery.

  Survey results table of contents  
Part 1--Platform choices: Is Unix a legacy platform?
Part 2--Server virtualization: Virtual disaster recovery takes hold
Part 3--Server hardware: HP scrapping for scale-out dominance
Part 4--Systems management: Spending tepid, ITIL and CMDB gain credence
Part 5--Data center infrastructure: Too soon for liquid cooling

Unsurprisingly, server virtualization has become mainstream in the data center. A considerable majority -- 64% of respondents -- use server virtualization. And usage is growing fast. Nearly 70% of survey respondents will add 10 or more servers to their virtual farm in 2007. So too, the number of virtual machines (VMs) being stacked on servers is on the rise. More than three-quarters of virtualization users plan to densify the number of VMs on each server next year, 39% plan to increase virtual machine load by 50% or more.
More on server virtualization in the data center:
SunGard taps server virtualization to speed disaster recovery

Virtualization in the data center fast guide

VMware's ESX Server rules, with 58% of the market share. VMware Server, VMware's entry-level, free software, came in second at 14%. Microsoft Virtual Server garnered 12% among beta users, followed by mainframe partitioning, with 5%, as the most widely used virtualization options.

The top three usage scenarios for virtual machines are Web servers, network infrastructure applications, and file and print servers.

Server virtualization is not just for the server test-dev sandbox anymore. Increasingly, IT managers are turning to server virtualization for business continuity and disaster recovery strategies as well as energy savings. While server consolidation and testing are the top two motives for deploying server virtualization, more than half of respondents are using server virtualization for disaster recovery and high availability.

According to Charles King, principal analyst at Hayward, Calif.-based research firm Pund-IT Inc., failover capabilities from VMware and from comparable tools at the Unix and mainframe level have made virtualization an attractive strategy for high availability. New technologies that in the event of a failure automatically restart virtual machines on different host servers are becoming more prominent.

King also notes that companies with geographically separate disaster recovery sites now consider it less important to maintain mirrored configurations. "You can create a virtual mirror site with less hardware. This has created interesting opportunities for companies hosting data center disaster recovery services as well, allowing them to get more bang for their buck."

Data center consolidation remains the major impetus for virtualization deployment. Server virtualization is by far the most popular means for data center pros trying to cut their energy bill.

ABOUT THIS SURVEY: In the spring of 2007, conducted its first annual data center purchasing survey. Subscribers were contacted by email and invited to participate. For this survey, we had a total of 374 respondents in North America. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey.

Let us know what you think about the data center purchasing survey; e-mail Matt Stansberry, Site Editor.

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