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Virtualization not trusted for critical apps

Data center operators across Asia Pacific and Japan are resisting virtualization for critical application environments, according to new research.

Data center operators across Asia Pacific and Japan are resisting virtualization for critical application environments, according to new research.

While server consolidation is a high priority for most data center operators, it is only occurring for non-critical application servers, according to Symantec's global state of the data center survey, which questioned 800 data center managers from 14 countries.

Just 20 percent of respondents said they would consolidate mission critical servers but 59 percent said they were happy to virtualize 'relatively unimportant' ones.

Forty-three percent said they would consolidate 'test and development' servers.

Paul Lancaster, systems engineering director at Symantec Australia, said the results show administrators do not yet trust virtualization for critical apps.

"The survey showed there are a number of concerns around large investments into the virtualization of physical servers. The first was around mission critical servers not being deployed onto a virtualization platform," he told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet Australia.

The survey also revealed fewer data center managers in Asia Pacific (29 percent) had started virtualizing servers compared to the world average of 39 percent.

Analysts agree that for many larger organizations, the uptake of virtualization has been slow for production environments while it has been rapid for lower risk environments.

"Virtualization of test and development environments has exploded. Of course, test and development has a low impact if it goes wrong, but it also offers huge value in reducing the number of servers," Intelligent Business Research Services analyst Kevin McIsaac told ZDNet Australia.

Other major problems facing data center operators, according to Symantec's research, are difficulties finding and retaining staff and meeting increasingly tough service level agreements (SLAs).

However McIsaac said the issue of labor shortages is certainly not data center-specific and disagreed that meeting SLAs, at least for Australian data center operators, is a major problem.

A greater problem, according to McIsaac, is the issue of power and cooling due to aging buildings that don't permit operators to replace data centers with new air conditioning technology.

"Every three to four years, the power of servers has gone up significantly, yet data centers are only refreshed every 20 to 25 years. The answer to that is that we need the physical infrastructure--power and cooling--to be modular, so you can rip it out every five to seven years," said McIsaac.