Sunday, December 13, 2009

Threats to VMware Hegemony Revealed in New Server Study

TheInfoPro, an independent research company for the IT industry, today released its fall 2009 Server Study showing slow but recovering x86 server deployments, contrasted by strong growth in deployments of VMware, Windows Server and Linux, primarily Red Hat.
VMware is still the leading vendor in use and in plan for server virtualization, and few users report firm plans to switch from VMware to Hyper-V. However, this parallel deployment of Hyper-V, Citrix and Red Hat virtualization capabilities could signal a challenge to VMware’s dominance; this implies that heterogeneous environments will be commonplace, where VMware is used for production, and Hyper-V may grow through deployments for development and testing.
“Much of the strength of the VMware story is predicated on a homogeneous population of VMware servers under control of VMware management utilities,” said Bob Gill, managing director of server research for TheInfoPro. “The more heterogeneous the environment, the less VMware is positioned in the central infrastructural layer in the data center.”
Key Data in Server Hardware
TheInfoPro’s Server Study reflects a depressed server hardware market caused by a confluence of the economic downturn and the impact of server consolidation and virtualization that has been a top priority for the past several years.
One technology showing rapid penetration among respondents is server-driven desktop replacements/appliances. With the halo effect of server virtualization drawing interest to desktop virtualization, the percentage of users citing such technology as in use rose from 9% in Wave 7 to 18% in Wave 8. Interestingly, the percentage of those expressing no plans remained fairly constant, showing that pent-up demand is being satisfied, but new demand is not yet appearing.
10Gbps switches took the top spot in the Server Hardware Heat Index, as users prepare to upgrade their networking infrastructure for increasingly dense and demanding servers. Two percent (2%) report such switches in pilot, 5% in near-term plan, and 16% of the sample cited in long-term plan, which extends through Q3 2010.
Key Data in Server Software
This study showed that growth in infrastructure server software deployments, such as operating systems and virtualization software, continues much more strongly than growth in hardware units, driven by the efficiencies derived from server virtualization. Growth in the number of virtual machines deployed implies growth in virtualization software licenses, as well as for the OS instances required for each virtual machine.
Application monitoring and management tools, and discovery and inventory management tools, rank fourth and fifth respectively on the Heat Index, as users attempt to gain control over their increasingly virtualized and dynamic systems.
More than 60% of users project that more than half of all database systems will be run on 64-bit OS instances, up from just under 50% in 2009, implying substantial refreshing and upgrading of OS instances. More than two-thirds of respondents use Microsoft for back-end/database servers.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents now report virtual machine software for midtier/application servers in use somewhere within their organization. This widespread deployment is illustrative of virtualization’s movement from strictly development and test applications to production applications.
Cloud/utility computing scores well on the Heat Index, based on the 13% who report it in long-term plan, but the vendors cited reflect an even split between respondents who are describing internal cloud development and those who are referring to using an external cloud provider.
About TheInfoPro’s Server Study
TheInfoPro’s Wave 8 Server Study is based on detailed one-on-one interviews with server professionals at 300 large and midsize enterprises in North America and Europe that were completed in fall 2009. It provides detailed plans about usage patterns for 43 server technologies that fall under the following categories: x86 server hardware, servers and storage networking, infrastructure management software, virtualization software, applications and advanced architectures, special operating system and other server form factors. For each technology, IT pros were asked about the status of implementation and about the vendors they are using or considering. In addition, data is collected on the current and projected spending on the technology. TIP’s proprietary technology indexes provide tools to evaluate areas of interest to the reader. Vendors that were mentioned in the study include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Oracle, VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, Cisco, NEC and Stratus Technologies.
About TheInfoPro
TheInfoPro is the only independent research network for the information technology (IT) industry. Through a peer network of more than 1,800 of the world’s largest buyers and users of IT, including Citigroup, FedEx, McGraw-Hill, MasterCard, Pfizer, Vodafone, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase and Harvard University, TheInfoPro delivers detailed budget, vendor performance and technology roadmap data without spin or bias. Known as the “voice of the customer,” TheInfoPro helps IT professionals, technology providers and institutional investors make sound decisions on technologies, vendor relationships and investments. Founded in 2002 by alumni of Gartner, Giga, EMC and Bell Labs, TheInfoPro is headquartered in New York City. To learn more, visit or call (212) 672-0010.
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