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77% of Gov Agencies Virtualizing

Seventy-seven percent of government agencies at Federal, state, and local levels are implementing at least some form of virtualization, including server, storage and client virtualization, according to a new report released yesterday by CDW Government.

The 2010 Government Virtualization Report surveyed over 600 different government agencies on the benefits experienced by virtualizing their systems.

Of those, 89 percent responded to the survey by saying they are benefiting from the technology, according to the survey. Energy efficiency benefits of virtualization included reduced hardware (including elimination of server sprawl) and improved utilization and capacity management of computing resources.

Despite those benefits, – and imperatives such as the Federal data center consolidation initiative – 81 percent of all agencies said they are not using virtualization to its fullest extent, and just 33 percent employ a “virtualization first” strategy, meaning that a 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.

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.  Despite those challenges, most agencies said they will fully implement client, server and storage virtualization by 2015.

The survey found that 91 percent of agencies are considering or implementing server virtualization, a method of running multiple independent server operating systems on a single physical server.

Eighty-four percent are considering or implementing client virtualization, a method of running multiple desktops and/or applications centrally in the data center, and an equal number are considering or implementing storage virtualization, a method of making many different physical storage networks and devices appear as one entity for purposes of management and administration.

Security concerns about virtualization, the second most significant barrier to Federal implementation, according to CDW-G’s 2009 Federal Virtualization Report, declined significantly within that group year over year. Today, Federal IT professionals rank security seventh among their top barriers, after concerns such as staff knowledge, budget and staff availability.

State and local IT professionals in 2010 ranked security eighth among their top barriers, after concerns such as budget and staff availability.  Across government, nearly half of IT managers report that security is actually a benefit of virtualization, CDW-G found.

A survey released earlier this year by Digital Realty Trust recommended virtualizing storage as a way to reduce energy demand. Server virtualization can also be used to generate significant energy savings.

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