Virtualisation technology is going to become even more significant in 2009 with businesses increasingly realising its potential benefits.
Analyst house Gartner predicts global revenue from virtualisation software will grow by 43 percent this year, hitting $2.7bn (£1.9bn), compared to $1.9bn in 2008.
In addition the global penetration of virtualisation technology in businesses is forecast to hit 20 percent by the end of the year — up from 12 percent in 2008.
Gartner says businesses will turn to the technology for its potential to reduce costs, its ability to help organisations use computing resources more efficiently, and because it can be rapidly deployed.
In addition, virtualisation helps reduce carbon emissions due to the lower number of physical servers required.
Gartner sees Microsoft increasingly challenging VMware as the dominant player over the next few years, especially among small and medium-sized businesses.
Research director at Gartner, Alan Dayley, added that the server virtualisation management and hosted virtual desktop markets in particular are ripe for consolidation with "scores of vendors trying to stake claim in the market".
Meanwhile, the increase in the use of hosted virtual desktop technology will fuel the need for server virtualisation as more data is managed on central servers.
Gartner predicts the revenue from hosted virtual desktop software will triple in 2009 to just under $300m, with server-virtualisation management software growing by 42 percent to $1.3bn and the infrastructure side of things rising by just under a quarter to $1.1bn.