Survey: Server virtualization benefits governments
Government agencies continue to cut costs and experience other benefits by using virtualization — the division of a server into several subsystems — according to a survey released Tuesday by Herndon, Va.-based CDW Government LLC (CDW-G). Despite the benefits — and imperatives such as the federal data center consolidation initiative — 81 percent of responding agencies said they are not using virtualization to its fullest extent, and just 33 percent employ a “virtualization first” strategy, in which a service requestor must prove that a new software application does not work in a virtualized environment before the agency will buy a dedicated server to support it.
CDW-G’s “2010 Government Virtualization Report” is an assessment of client, server and storage virtualization in federal, state and local agencies based on a May survey of 600 IT managers. The survey found that 77 percent of agencies are implementing at least one form of virtualization, and of those, 89 percent are benefiting from the technology. Those benefits include reduced operating and capital costs, improved use of computing resources and greater IT staff productivity, respondents said.
However, across government, agencies cited lack of staff and budget as top impediments to further virtualization adoption. Nearly half said their IT department is not appropriately staffed and trained to manage a virtual environment. Nevertheless, most agencies said they plan to fully implement client, server and storage virtualization by 2015. “The cost savings associated with virtualization are exceptionally compelling in the current budget environment,” said David Hutchins, CDW-G director of state and local sales. “We see many state and local governments starting with a pilot project, and once tangible cost and time savings are achieved, redeploying those resources to other priority initiatives — including additional virtualization, which reaps still more savings.”
Survey respondents also said that the technique is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Forty-six percent said some applications should not run on virtualized servers. “Some applications require such intensive resources, the cost benefit is outweighed,” one respondent noted.
Government IT professionals offered the following advice to their peers:
• Lead: Secure non-IT leadership support and ensure adequate end-user education.
• Analyze: Conduct cost-benefit and performance analyses and set benchmarks for evaluating ROI.
• Plan: Audit current IT environments to determine areas that can immediately benefit from virtualization and areas that will require additional planning.
• Implement: Begin with a small-scale implementation. Apply lessons learned to a subsequent deployment.
Download the 2010 Government Virtualization Report.