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Virtualization and Windows Server 2012 Adoption Poised to Explode over Next Two Years in Small and Midsized Enterprises

How fully virtualized organizations are is often a calculated guess based on anecdotal evidence or surveys conducted by virtualization providers who just sample organizations who already use virtualization. King Research’s Windows Server 2012 Migration/Virtualization Survey, commissioned by Symantec, eliminates much of this guesswork and built-in bias. However it more importantly provides key insights into just how virtualized organizations are right now, how quickly they plan to virtualize their environments in the next few years and how they would prefer to protect them once virtualized.

The results of the Windows Server 2012 Migration/Virtualization Survey conducted by King Research (“King”) is the latest in a long line of studies that Symantec has commissioned. In this particular survey, King contacted IT professionals in businesses across the globe with anywhere from 50 to more than 1,000 employees.

While any research that is commissioned by a hardware or software provider may prompt some skepticism as to its merits, it is worth noting that IT professionals contacted by King do not know the research is funded by a third party. Even if they suspect that someone is paying King to conduct it, they still do not know the name of the company behind the scenes.

This insight helps to give more validity to the survey results and provide more assurance that the snapshot it takes of corporate IT environments is pretty accurate in regards to:

  • How  virtualized they currently are
  • The degree to which they plan to adopt virtualization
  • Their plans around migrating to Windows Server 2012
  • How they intend to protect applications hosted on Windows Server 2012

The first statistic that caught my eye is this report is that 18% of these organizations have already virtualized at least 75% of their IT environment. While this is certainly significant, it illustrates just how much room there is left for virtualization to grow (especially in these size environments.)

Percentage Virtualized.JPGSource: Symantec 2013 Windows Server 2012 Migration/Virtualization Survey

It also shows that while VMware may currently be the market leader in virtualization that lead may be in jeopardy. The familiarity that small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) have with Microsoft coupled with the maturing virtualization capabilities available in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V helps to explain why over the next two years the number of SMEs that expect to be fully virtualized will jump to 52%.

52 percent fully virtualized.JPGSource: Symantec 2013 Windows Server 2012 Migration/Virtualization Survey

When asked to rank on a scale of 1-10 what feature was most motivating them to move Microsoft Windows Server 2012, they cited “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Improvements” and “Hyper-V Server Virtualization Improvements” as their top two (2) reasons. Since only 7% of SMEs currently use Windows Server 2012 in some form to satisfy specific application requirements (Active Directory Controllers, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, etc.) it appears the impetus for their broader adoption of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is its improved virtualization capabilities. Adding to their desire to adopt it, fully 100% of those surveyed already use some current or past version of Microsoft Windows Server so they already possess the foundational skills to manage it.

Windows Server 2012 Motivating Factors.JPGSource: Symantec 2013 Windows Server 2012 Migration/Virtualization Survey

Despite their eagerness to adopt Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and put in place its virtualization capabilities, they clearly still have some concerns about how they will protect this environment once it is in place. 62 of the organizations surveyed use different applications to protect their physical and virtual machines. However this survey also found that 91% were either “Interested in” or “Loved” the idea of using a single solution to backup both their physical and virtual machines.

The results of this survey are clear. SMEs are ready to virtualize their environments but have been waiting for Microsoft to step up to the plate with a solution that aligns with their needs and addresses their concerns. It appears that with Windows Server 2012 and its Hyper-V Server Virtualization, Microsoft has accomplished that.

In so doing, SMEs will convert from observers to participants in the virtualization revolution that is sweeping through IT. At the same time, they also appear poised to simplify their protection of their newly virtualized environment and standardize on a single backup solution for both their physical and virtual environments.


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