Virtualization not as easy as 1-2-3

IT executives turn to virtualization technology for management advantages, but challenges remain

Government technology executives are turning to virtual systems to reduce energy costs and other expenses, but issues with the technology remain, according to a survey that also said companies are struggling with service and power-consumption issues.

The survey, conducted by Actionable Research on behalf of Avocent, polled 299 executives and technology managers in the government, manufacturing, high-technology, retail, banking, health care and education sectors in the United States.

Respondents said they saw virtualization technology as a way to save energy and reduce costs, particularly for hardware. A majority of respondents had deployed some level of server virtualization, and 33 percent had implemented the technology to save energy.

However, respondents said the technology was not perfect. Of those using virtualization, 24 percent have experienced a disappearance of a virtual server from their systems, and 18 percent reported having permanently lost a virtual server. Additionally, 45 percent of respondents said they had concerns about the lack of expertise that their information technology staffers had with virtualization, and 44 percent said they were concerned that virtual servers could fail because of a component failure in a physical server.

Monitoring power usage and keeping networks up and running were other challenges. The survey found that many administrators lack the tools they need to properly manage power usage at data centers, with only 55 percent of respondents saying they were able to monitor power usage ' mostly at the universal power supply level.

Survey respondents said energy conservation was the most difficult issue to resolve with their current tools, and managing the total cost of power was the second most difficult task. Eighty-three percent considered the ability to measure power consumption at the data-center level valuable or extremely valuable.

Keeping networks connected is another constant challenge for government technology executives. Thirty-five percent of organizations said they lost mission-critical data due to unplanned downtime.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.


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