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Virtualisation

Virtualisation

Beyond server consolidation

The virtualisation market continues to grow and is sure to be one of the hottest technology topics again in 2008. ARN recently hosted an industry lunch to find out what developments we can expect to see in the year ahead. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion.

Brian Corrigan, ARN (BC): How much of your virtualisation business is with customers deploying the technology for the first time and how much is enhancements for existing clients?

Jason Arnold-Auland, The Missing Link (JA): I have a lot of customers looking to take up virtualisation for the first time. SMBs with one or two servers are looking to virtualise a whole bunch of stuff onto one box and recycle another to make it available for disaster recovery (DR) or even as a hot spare.

Tony Wilkinson, Technical Architecture Solutions (TW): There are two strands to our business. The wholesale stuff is largely new people that haven't deployed virtualisation yet but our direct market in the enterprise is largely taking what they've already done in DR, dev test or production and rolling it out as a holistic infrastructure that incorporates the vast majority of their assets. The motivation [for new deployments] is usually instability in their infrastructure or recovery, be it disaster or in house, or just as a tech refresh.

Chris Caswell - Artis Group (CC): Customers are looking to optimise infrastructure and their spending on it. Any discussion around technology comes down to the business drivers and return on investment so consolidation is a key driver from a virtualisation perspective. It also depends on the maturity of the buyer - if they've been a midrange customer in the past and understand the concept of virtualisation then it's generally a shorter sales cycle; if it's all a bit new it can take a bit longer to sell the value and overcome complexity concerns.

Rodney Haywood, Oriel Technologies (RH): New and existing business are both growing rapidly. New business is growing because licensing costs are reducing while servers and SANs are also becoming more affordable. In existing deployments we are also seeing big growth because of new technologies from the vendors. These customers already have the platform but now they want to know what else they can do with it.

Roy Pater, Leading Solutions (RP): About 50 per cent of our virtualisation business is with new customers now. Green technology has been a key driver. It rides off the back of power and cooling issues in the datacentre but it also saves them money. Some industries are very conscientious and will drive the green angle. Management has also been a driver because people want to do more with less. In SMB it's more around DR, because they can now do it cost effectively, but new customers still typically use it for lab testing in non-critical environments.

Greg Wade, Frontline Systems (GW): We have been around for 15 years so it's fair to say we have a large and well-established customer base in banking, finance and telco. We have a good amount of new business coming through but we are seeing our large customers seriously committing themselves to a virtualisation play. Not many of them have made a serious production commitment but there's some serious testing going on. Green will certainly be one of the hot topics in the next year or two.


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