Moving beyond virtual stall
Researchers from Gartner and Forrester claim the majority of organisations progress no further than 30% of their virtualisation phase.
Andi Mann, vice-president of virtualisation and automation product marketing for CA Technologies said at the recent CA Southern Africa IT Management Symposium most companies never realise the revenue-generation benefits promised by virtualisation.
“Most organisations are still stuck at the consolidation phase, so the outstanding promises are still yet to come,” says Mann.
He explained that the journey to cloud needs to start with virtualisation. This journey is comprised of four steps, namely; consolidation, optimisation, automation and dynamic IT.
According to Mann, a mature virtualisation strategy provides companies the ability to deliver new services and applications, not only to the business, but also to the end customers with a rapid response time.
“If the organisation is not an agile business, then it is behind the game and will not be able to compete. There are tipping points and challenges stopping companies from reaching mature phases in their virtualisation strategies.”
This biggest challenge, according to Mann, is not having the right skills.
“This is because the IT skills shortage in virtualisation is really starting to escalate. Licensing and compliance is another issue, and this is stopping the expansion of virtualisation maturing in many organisations.”
Mann explained that if a company cannot move beyond the first phase of its virtualisation strategy, it would simply achieve capex reduction due to consolidation; however, it would miss the other benefits of virtualisation such as agility and revenue generation.
Virtualisation is a strategy
“Yet, virtualisation will not achieve those benefits by itself; it needs software.” Mann said tomorrow is too late; companies need to deploy virtual management software to prevent virtual sprawl and to enable the maturity of a virtualisation strategy.
“The 451 Group says the ability to automate all the aspects of infrastructure is absolutely necessary to meet many of the cloud's requirements. The key here is to approach virtualisation as a strategy and not just a project.”
Mann added: “Move from the early consolidation phase and bring systems together, and then build it into revenue drivers so that business sees IT more than just a cost centre, and as a strategic asset to drive innovation and revenue.
“Then the business can start improving productivity, growing the business in different regions, reducing expenses, building new applications and improving ratios such as return on investment.”