Transformative virtualization is a journey.  It begins with virtualization. It ends with a large scale shift to use of IT as a service (ITaaS) delivered via the Cloud.

Research indicates that the virtualization journey may not always be linear. Some organizations may leap frog levels and arrive at the destination faster than their competitors.  But, all organizations will have to spend considerable amount of time in maturing the organization and making it ready to take on the challenge of using ITaaS.

An HP and VMware Global Survey [1] observed that there are, generally, three phases of maturity with regard to virtualization. Businesses can get stuck in any one of these phases before they find their way out of the problem and resume their journey to the destination–ITaaS.

The obstacle could be financial, technical or managerial. However, rewards are seen to accelerate at the successful completion of a phase. 47% of the respondents who participated in this survey felt that they would be able to do more with less at the end of the first phase of maturity. 38% were confident that they could deploy new applications quickly, and 29% stated that their end users would have an easier access to information from anywhere, anytime.  Post ITaaS (Phase III completion) ROI was expected to be as much as 222% as against the 164% of Phase I.

The survey further observed that the accelerated gains in each phase, is attributable to activities associated with the phases. In Phase I, server consolidation brings in its wake a shift from CAPEX to OPEX.  There are fewer servers deployed for the same level of workload. About 30% of the hardware is virtualized.

In Phase II, management is automated, and about 70% of the hardware is virtualized. Business critical applications are virtualized and service level agreements (SLAs) are enforced. Reliability of IT infrastructure is guaranteed as disaster recovery and business continuity functionalities are in focus.

In Phase III, the entire IT infrastructure is ITaaS. Advanced management techniques are used to manage and monitor Virtual machines.

Unfortunately, the organizational and process changes that must follow on the heels of ITaaS is yet to be undertaken by more than 66% of the respondents of the HP and VMware Global Survey.  These organizations are not enjoying the full benefits of ITaaS because they have failed to realign silos of IT workers or reengineer the processes.   The journey to transformative virtualization remains incomplete.

[1] – http://resources.idgenterprise.com/original/AST-0091264_VMW-HP_BusinessTrends_Brief.pdf