Gartner predicts virtualisation to ride the downturn

Spending on virtualisation in EMEA to increase 55 percent this year.
Virtualisation software is set to buck the trend of reduced IT spending during 2009, according to predictions by analyst firm Gartner, which expects virtual client deployments in particular to grow by over 300 per cent this year.

While many firms are cutting back on IT budgets during the current economic climate, virtualisation is seen as a technology that can make more efficient use of resources.

Virtualisation revenues across the EMEA region are expected to grow by 55 per cent from €330m (£297m) in 2008 to €512m (£460m) this year, the analyst firm said.

Senior Gartner research analyst Rene Millman explained that market growth will be driven by cost reduction, resource utilisation and management advantages.

The largest spend is likely to be on management tools, which Gartner expects to increase by 54 per cent to about €244m (£220m) by the end of this year, while spending on virtual server infrastructure is predicted to reach €211m (£190m).

Virtual clients, which Gartner calls 'hosted virtual desktops', will account for about €56m (£50m) of IT spending by firms across EMEA, but this is up from just $12.9m (£11.6m) in 2008.

Consolidating client systems into virtual machines in the datacentre makes management easier, and potentially allows workers to access their corporate desktop from anywhere via an internet connection.

However, adoption of this technology has been relatively slow because of a lack of understanding of the benefits, and issues such as resistance from users reluctant to give up their desktop PC.

"The main barriers to adoption of this model are end-user acceptance and IT decision makers' understanding of the genuine cost benefits of moving desktops to the datacentre.

However, we believe that greater market education will help overcome these hurdles," said Serguei Beloussov, chief executive at virtual isation firm Parallels.

The company markets virtual client infrastructure based on its Virtuozzo Containers, which Parallels claims can deliver a greater density of virtual machines per server than with hypervisor-based solutions such as those from VMware.

The UK, Germany and France make up the lion's share of virtual infrastructure deployments in EMEA, according to Gartner. The UK alone accounted for 23 per cent of revenues in 2008.

The largest deployments of virtual clients have also been in the UK and Germany.

BY Daniel Robinson

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