Analysis: Doing more with less

Analysis: Doing more with less

In 2012, the supply side of the market will facilitate a broad-based adoption of automation capabilities

In the past few years, Australia has been proud of the fact that it has the world’s highest level of server virtualisation; greater than anywhere in Asia, Europe, and indeed North America. Such a high penetration rate has been a boon for companies in the hypervisor business, as well as x86 server vendors.

Server virtualisation was sold to the market as the solution to the problem of server proliferation and was pitched as something of a wonder. However, where the wonders of virtualisation have not quite had the desired impact, is where they were needed most; the operators.

The challenge faced by many operators is that a server, whether physical or logical, still requires very similar amounts of management. Both physical and logical servers have a need for CPU, memory, storage, network bandwidth, and management. IDC forecasts show that whilst the number of logical — or virtualised — servers is increasing, the number of staff to support this physical infrastructure remains flat.

Looking at the server market is a solid data point; however, a similar situation is occurring in storage, where the amount of terabytes shipped is growing prodigiously, whilst the number of storage administrators remains flat. So too in the networking arena where the amount of data being transported grows whilst network administrator’s role is not growing at the same rate.

During 2010–2014, IT employment, now at 35 million, will grow by a factor of 1.3 worldwide. This is a constraint in an industry that will grow by a factor of 1.1 by spending but by more than 2 by devices managed, 5 by information created, and 8 by networked interactions amongst customers. IDC views this as a long-term structural constraint that will create an incentive for IT organisations to invest in automation to keep up with the increasing scale and complexity of operational IT environments.

Many customers are still in the early phases of learning how to best standardise and automate many aspects of datacentre operations, including application and infrastructure provisioning and ongoing workflow orchestration and optimisation across complex virtualised architectures and cloud platforms.

In 2012, the supply side of the market will respond to user market demand and initiate, educate, and facilitate a broad-based adoption of automation capabilities.

- Matthew Oostveen is IDC associate research director

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