Enterprises should exercise restraint in deploying virtualisation technology if they want to realise any benefits, according to panellists at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco.
Figures cited by Virtual Iron Software suggest that just one per cent of newly shipped servers will be used for virtualisation. The technology has a five to six per cent share of the overall server market.
Jim Fister, lead technical strategist at Intel's Digital Enterprise Group, described the technology's market share as "low and static".
He warned that, although a server consolidation strategy increases hardware utilisation rates, it does not cut down on maintenance costs because administrators still manage a number of hardware devices.
"I am not entirely sure whether that is going to save me [any money]," Fister said.
Consolidation is not a means to an end, he argued. Enterprises should pursue virtualisation to cut power consumption or to free up servers that can be used for innovative projects such as service oriented architectures.
"As soon as people move away from consolidation and start to think about new uses, virtualisation will start to do a little better," he said.
Kevin Leahy, director for virtualisation solutions and strategy at IBM, claimed that consolidation is just a "starting point".
"The real value is when you start to improve the business resilience and application performance," he explained. "A compelling reason for consolidation is that it frees up the people."
Leahy maintained that management software is a vital part of virtualisation as the software enables enterprises automatically to move around images and dynamically allocate system resources to applications during periods of peak demand.
"Virtualisation stalled in the marketplace," he said. "Customers started with say 100 physical machines and when they were done, they had 400 virtual machines. When they did that, they made their jobs more difficult."
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