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The Placebo Effect

Virtualization is a sure panacea in hiding the IT asset complexities and creating a highly flexible information infrastructure.

In an age where information is the key and access to data is 24/7. So to achieve that enterprises need to innovate the way IT is getting managed. Of all the concepts that has been doing the round in the realm of IT asset management, Virtualization is increasingly becoming a leading standard in creating a homogenous view of heterogeneous IT infrastructures cutting across OS, hardware, applications and storage. What virtualization does is it hides the complexities and consolidates at a centralized level, which gets manifested in its various forms-desktop, server or storage virtualization.

Why Virtualization?
Virtualization increases and improves utilization. Organizations today are looking for technologies that reduce costs, increase productivity, security and enhance the disaster recovery process. Most CIOs believe that virtualization is one such technology, which can bring about a major transformation and solve most of their problems. Apart from these reasons, soaring real estate prices, increasing labor cost are other factors that are driving the virtualization market in India.

Reflecting on this Souma Das, area vice president, Citrix, India says, “In India, adoption of virtualization is on the rise. CIOs are cognizant to the fact that virtualization adoption is about extracting maximum benefits from their existing IT infrastructure and saving on investments for future projects.” Industry experts also estimate that the adoption rate of virtualization in India is expected to see a growth of 85 percent by 2011 from the current 19 percent.

The Desktop Virtualization- The Benefits

Cost: Businesses have tried everything to reduce desktop management costs including outsourcing, automated help desks, and remote service technologies, but costs continue to increase. PC architectures enable the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of application diversity, configuration options and degrees of manageability, notes Gartner. This flexibility has its costs, however, because TCO for PCs can range between $4,000 and $9,000 (or more) per user per year.

Security: When PCs are lost, damaged, or stolen — along with the proprietary or private data that is stored on them — the results can be negative press and even legal consequences.

Regulatory Drivers: In some industries, such as health care in particular, sensitive data is restricted by law from leaving the data center and users are not permitted to store or manipulate client data on their devices.

Business Continuity: The need to protect IT systems (including desktops) and run a global operation in times of power outages, disruptive weather events, labor unrest, and many other challenges is greater than ever.

Desktop Management: Inevitably, users install non-approved programs, break crucial functionality such as anti-virus, fail to perform backups, and forget to apply security patches and hot fixes.

Virtualization is quickly becoming an important technology across all parts of the IT environment in India. The technology is rapidly being deployed in server, storage, networking, as well as client environments. By far the most visible adoption of virtualization technology is happening in servers, from the largest UNIX server down to the smallest volume system. Virtualization is being used as a tool for consolidation, a means to reduce space and power requirements, and more recently as a way to bring business continuity to a larger part of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Moreover experts say that server virtualization also infuses   agility into the datacenters so that it may quickly adapt itself in order to provide necessary IT infrastructure for supporting a business decision. The key to these benefits is that virtualization encapsulates the software stack and decouples it from the underlying hardware. This means customers get both consolidation and mobility benefits, which can be used to address some of the largest challenges facing CIOs today.

Virtualization is on the cusp of breaking into the broader mainstream market, having proven its worth for many early adopters. The early adopters of application virtualization are mainly IT oriented organizations who understand the need for early adoption of this technology to enhance their productivity in the long run. Industry experts estimate that up to 30 million office workers will move to virtual desktops over the next five years, creating a new $1 billion market for desktop virtualization. 

Greater RoI
In an age where CIOs look at optimizing on their IT, virtualization score big on that front. Quips Souma Das, “Virtualization makes great business sense in the present recessionary scenario where there is an increasing need to cope with IT budget cuts and optimize costs. It is estimated that over a period of 12 to18 months enterprises can achieve 40 percent RoI from virtualization initiatives.”

For instance organizations such as Maruti Udyog, Jet Airways and Perfetti Van Melle, India have invested in application virtualization and have seen great savings in investments. Studies show that desktop virtualization can cut the TCO by 40 percent.

Customers have always looked at Open Source for accruing lesser TCO and greater RoI. Today Red Hat has emerged as a prominent player in the enterprise virtualization space with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with embedded virtualization features. Says Ravi Ranade, head - global professional services, Red Hat India, “ Virtualization has been an integral part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) since RHEL 5 where it was fully integrated as part of the OS.

A huge amount of work went into the integration, all aimed at providing customers with a simple and consistent configuration and operation. According to company sources the customers of Red Hat Enterprise Linux   are increasingly using virtualization to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by increasing system management flexibility, for example by enabling migration of workloads based on growth needs, and for high availability, such as via guest instance failover and migration for planned maintenance.

The Road Ahead
Clearly the market is heating up in India for Virtualization, on the one side the system vendors are pitching hard on several of their offerings as hardware forms a key constituent in the Virtualization.

Meanwhile apps and OS vendors like VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and Red Hat are also aggressively pitching on with their solutions.  The key factor enterprises need to factor while going in for virtualization is that they need to put in place the right eco-system in place so that  all aspects right form the interconnects to the software works in a seamless fashion without any disconnect. A good deployment will lead to an optimal utilization of IT resources.

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