Optimizing Business Performance: Why Every C-level Manager Should Care About Virtualization
March 24, 2013

Dick Csaplar
Aberdeen Group

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Aberdeen has been following the adoption of virtualization technologies for many years and, as the adoption rate has grown, IT has been able to transform itself from an old “cost center” model to that of a “business partner.” The adoption of virtualization technologies has allowed IT to become more supportive of business objectives and reduce the overall cost of their services, allowing the re-direction of those freed resources to more critical programs. C-Level managers that want more from their IT departments should understand the positive impact of virtualization technologies.

The report connected to this Blog — Why Every C-Level Executive Should Care about Virtualization — explains what virtualization is and highlight how virtualizaiton optimizes performance, both from an IT and business perspective, across servers, storage, and end-user desktops. This report will define how top performing companies gain business advantages from virtualization technologies and outline key changes that must take place for C-Level managers to gain the fruits of the new IT.

The Changing IT Model

Those who have been in business for many years know how the “old” IT system worked. You had to wait weeks before new applications became a reality. IT expenses were a straight allocation and were added to a department P&L with little explanation or ability to change the amount. Inside IT, almost 80% of the time and energy was spent on “keeping the lights on” types of tasks. Call desks responded to repairing broken processes, administrators focused on keeping applications from downtime, and little effort was left to develop new services to support pressing company requirements.

Today, virtualization is dramatically changing that reality. Servers, storage devices, networking, and even desktops are now managed with a “software defined infrastructure” — changes to computing devices are accomplished with a new breed of management applications. In the old model, technicians who wanted to move an application from one over-used computer to a new one had to perform hours of uninstall/reinstall activities. Today, with virtualization, a single command can move a running application from one server to another without any downtime or end-user impact.

Simplifying mundane IT tasks has freed up headcount and spending. These can either be returned to the company in reduced IT charges, or, as is done by leading companies, be re-allocated to higher corporate priorities. This process is the optimization of IT, and as such, every C-Level manager who wants more from their IT investments needs to pay attention.

When Aberdeen asks end-users who haven’t virtualized their infrastructure why they haven’t done it, the number one reason is always “uncertain ROI.” The information in this report should help make the financial return calculations easier to understand.

What is Virtualization?

While different for each type of computing device, virtualization is a technology that allows the application or service to be separated from the hardware platform on which it sits. Before virtualization, applications, for example, were deployed on physical servers and could not be moved without completely uninstalling and reinstalling them on another computer. Today, with a layer of virtualization software added to the server, applications can easily be migrated to a new computer for better performance, protection from downtime, or hardware maintenance. The result is higher application performance, increased uptime, and greatly reduced amounts of IT administration.

This report discusses the three leading forms of virtualization deployed in datacenters today — server, storage, and desktop. While entire books could be written about each technology, this report describes how the technology works and highlights examples of the operational and financial benefits gained. The limited number of examples is not to imply that they are few in number, but to keep the report to a reasonable length. For deeper discussions of each technology, take a look at Aberdeen’s reports on Virtualization.

Key Takeaways

Virtualization technologies are transforming IT organizations across all industries. By reducing the amount of time and effort required to perform the mundane tasks of managing servers, storage, networking, and desktop devices, resources are free to be re-allocated to higher priority programs.

While this report described each form of virtualization separately for education purposes, it is when they are deployed together where they can drive the greatest benefits to an organization. If they only look at one part, they could be short changing themselves.

If C-Level managers would like to see the sort of changes described in this report, they should learn about the virtualization projects underway in their IT shops. C-Level managers must demand to know what they are getting for their IT charges. Virtualization allows IT to manage their servers, storage and desktops in new ways that are fully accountable to the businesses.

Best-in-Class organizations are already gaining the advantages described in this report. If your organization is not Best-in-Class, C-Level managers have the responsibility to ask why. Virtualization technologies will be an essential part of the answer.

Dick Csaplar is Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud, IT Infrastructure Group, at Aberdeen.

Related Links:

Aberdeen Report: Why Every C-Level Executive Should Care about Virtualization

Aberdeen IT Infrastructure Group

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