After extensive research among its more than 20,000 customers, open source users and prospects, Abiquo identified the top five issues facing enterprises today:
- Security and Compliance
- IT Organization Overload
- Lack of Visibility into Virtual Environments
- Unrealized Utilization Improvements
- Vendor Lock-in
Implications of Top Five Virtualization Issues
Companies are moving to virtualization to increase server utilization rates and save money. According to research carried out by IDC in 2009, there was a 16% increase in server virtualization, and this year IDC claims that companies have even begun to adopt a “virtualization first” mentality because IT departments are keen to save money.
Yet Abiquo’s research clearly shows that the five major issues are either preventing companies from virtualizing more of their environments, or are preventing companies from realizing cost savings from their current virtualized environments.
Limiting Virtualization Adoption
Abiquo found that security and compliance concerns were the number one reason why many enterprises limited their virtualization efforts to non-production development and test systems only. For example, while virtual machine portability is highly beneficial from a resilience standpoint, for many organizations it creates a security and compliance nightmare. Effective data separation is difficult, not only to ensure, but also to provably track. Some enterprises attempt to mitigate the problem by creating separate “virtualized islands”, each running on different physical hardware, but this only reduces utilization, and presents a barrier to Cloud adoption.
The provisioning of virtual machines and storage, carried out by IT personnel, also leads to increased security and compliance risks since, unlike in the physical world where applications are both isolated and stay put, in virtualized environments IT must correctly (and repeatedly) determine the correct location in relation to other virtual systems. In short, they must fully understand and act upon the security and compliance requirements each and every time. Since the task is complex and humans are fallible, errors are inevitable. Virtualized environments that offer automated load balancing and fail-over only make the problem worse.
Limiting Virtualization Savings
Abiquo discovered that 4 of the 5 top virtualization issues limited companies’ ability to realize cost savings. For example, in addition to the “virtualized islands” issue described above, utilization decisions made by humans, who determine at least the initial location of every virtual system, rarely if ever produce the most effective utilization plan. For best utilization, a complete re-evaluation of the entire virtualized environment is required every time a virtual system is provisioned, or re-started. IT personnel have neither the time, nor the tools to do this, especially if they are also considering security and compliance.
In most enterprises the IT provisioning team is generally entirely separate from the application team that runs the virtualized system. This disconnect can lead to inefficiency and increased cost. For example, many enterprises that adopt virtualization find that over time a large number of virtual systems have resources allocated, but are no longer being used. Either nobody bothered to tell the infrastructure team, or the desire to “keep it around in case I need it later” prevailed.
Vendor lock-in is a barrier to adoption (for example many US government departments are restricted from using single vendor solutions) which leads to artificially high pricing when using a captive vendor.
Solution to Virtualization Issues
Abiquo believes that most enterprises do not realize there is a viable solution to these issues. An enterprise cloud management solution such as the Abiquo Enterprise Edition provides a bridge between basic virtualization and fully Cloud enabled computing. “By investing in a unified cloud management system, enterprises can truly realize the full benefits of virtualization”, said Pete Malcolm, Abiquo CEO. “Abiquo is the only solution that addresses all five of the top virtualization issues, dramatically improving utilization to realize cost savings, eliminating security and compliance concerns, substantially reducing the load on the IT organization, gaining visibility into virtual environments and eliminating vendor lock-in – all without any increase in risk.”