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Virtualization, Cloud, Users Report "Disappointment"

In my "Automation as Manna" blog post in June, I criticized the "scare tactics" used in a survey sponsored by automation software vendor UC4, which claimed in so many words that unless IT shops automate their operations, they will not be able to initiate their cloud plans.

Now CA Technologies has sponsored another pro IT automation survey casting aspersions on virtualization and cloud computing for their failure to meet user expectations due to their lack of automation. The survey, conducted among 460 mid- and senior-level IT decision-makers by UBM TechWeb, reports that "although most organizations have implemented virtualization and are prepping for cloud computing, many of them have yet to realize the benefits that drew them to the technologies in the first place."

Specifically, the survey notes, "85% of respondents have deployed, or say they are planning, or planning to deploy virtualization to reduce costs. But when asked whether virtualization has delivered significant cost savings, almost 65% have been disappointed."

Disappointed? Inquiring minds want to know just how disappointed in terms of what they expected in the way of reduced costs, and what they actually realized.

The survey goes on to quote Ian Watts, senior technical manager at BT Americas Inc., who says "Virtualization is a bean counter's dream, but can be an operational nightmare...Change management is a huge overhead, as any changes need to be accepted by all applications and users sharing the same virtualization kit."

Maybe that's why the call them disruptive technologies.

As summed up by Roger Pilc, GM of Virtualization and Automation at CA, the promised benefits of virtualization and cloud will be hard to realize without first automating routine IT processes.

Sounds bad--if somewhat vague. CA tells us disappointment is rampant, some organizations have added--rather than reduced--costs in the wake of virtualization, and making matters worse, that old stalwart, server sprawl persists. A regular tale of woe.

This negative tone, however, is far from being the dominant voice of the CA report, which devotes most of its space to lauding the future directions of virtualization and cloud, citing runaway market growth, and noting that 87 percent of respondents are currently either deploying or piloting virtualization in their organizations. Cloud? Cloud is going to take off, too, according to the survey, which says that 59 percent of respondents are planning to use cloud computing services in 2011.

So why all the worry over the lack of automation? It's not like people are abandoning their virtualization plans, or they have lost all hope in these technologies while they wait, abandoned, for IT tools that can automate provisioning, monitor servers, delete files, create and enforce access and security. After all, we have the technology. Having the budget may be another issue, but no organization that is serious about virtualization and cloud computing can reasonably expect to sit back and spend nothing as these cutting-edge technologies evolve.

Even though they are still nascent technologies, virtualization and cloud are already proving themselves every day in the eyes of IT pros who don't need to be told by CA Technologies how to manage their infrastructures.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 08/23/2011 at 12:48 PM


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