According to research released today by Morse, the business and IT consultancy, just over half (51%) of UK businesses have not had time to adjust their data centre management strategy to meet the challenges of a virtualised environment. This is because virtual machines are cheap and easy to create which results in many quickly springing up across the organisation. As a result they can be difficult to keep track of, demonstrated by the 67% of IT directors at large companies who, when questioned about the extent of virtualisation throughout the business, said that they didn’t know exactly how many virtual machines their organisation had.
“As more and more businesses adopt virtualisation, it is essential that they take a strategic and more disciplined approach and don’t just expect how they are managing their physical devices to be enough to manage the virtual environment effectively,” said Tom Brand, senior consultant at Morse. “Although many organisations have been caught by surprise by just how quickly virtual machines have appeared and spread throughout the company, there are no excuses for not putting some time aside to ensure that the virtual environment is being properly managed. Failure to do so will not only hold the IT department back from using virtualisation to transform the services it provides, but also place the business at risk of data loss and other serious problems.”
The research found that UK businesses are turning to virtualisation for a number of reasons. The most common reason is to cut costs, with 50% of UK businesses using virtualisation for that purpose. 19% said they used virtualisation to make management easier, closely followed by eliminating server sprawl (17%) and increasing device utilisation rates (14%).
However, despite the demand for virtualisation, many IT departments are struggling to keep it under their control and manage it effectively. While over half (56%) of IT directors at large businesses said they have a system to keep track of their virtual machines, the effectiveness of this system is doubtful considering that 67% of IT directors at large businesses had earlier said that they did not know exactly how many virtual machines they had. This shows that although many businesses think they have adequate measures in place to control and manage their virtualisation, they need to take a closer look at the strategy they are using or be left with a virtualised environment that is spiralling out of control.
Compounding the problem is that over one third (38%) of UK businesses have de-centralised virtual machine management, allowing people to create and remove them at will and creating a management nightmare. Worryingly, this approach was very popular with financial companies, with over half (55%) of them saying that they have adopted this tactic.
IT directors also expressed a range of different fears when it came to managing their virtual machines. The biggest fear (40%) was not having the correct back-up and recovery strategy for a virtualised environment. This was followed by the fear of server failure caused by a mistake when managing the much higher server utilisation rates that virtualisation allows (23%), and the risks from not having comprehensive management tools to manage changes, configuration and patching (23%). The current lack of standardisation that can lead to either an over-complicated mix of open source and proprietary virtual machines or trying to standardise and being locked into one vendor's technology was less of a concern, with only 14% of IT directors saying it was their biggest worry.
“IT directors need to realise that virtual machines will forever change the IT environment because they are so cheap and easy to deploy. As a result, IT directors can’t afford to be in denial – they must take action to sort out their management processes before things get too far out of hand,” continued Tom Brand. “Unless companies start to be realistic about the extent and spread of virtualisation throughout the organisation, they will quickly find that without proper management tactics, virtualisation can actually cause more problems than it solves. The only way for businesses to ensure that they actually reap the rewards of virtualisation is to carefully examine their data centre management strategy and adjust it to take into account the differences between managing physical and virtual devices.”
The survey of 100 IT directors was commissioned by Morse and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne. Large businesses were defined in the research as having more than 3,000 employees.
About Morse plc
Morse is an international consulting company, offering our clients specialist Business and IT advice and helping them execute for maximum benefit. We are a delivery-orientated company with focussed industry expertise, combining a powerful blend of management, application and infrastructure consulting skills.
Morse’s reputation is earned through providing essential industry know-how in a flexible and pragmatic style, where clients enjoy the benefits of innovative solutions and confidence from collaborating with a trusted and talented partner.
Morse infrastructure consulting provides technology and integration solutions to clients who want to make their IT more flexible and better aligned to their business goals. We offer services that include; the efficient and effective provisioning of technology, mission critical technology environments that deliver project ROI, flexible resources and architecture strategy and design.