Windows Server 2008 has 'democratizing' effect

clarification Microsoft hopes upcoming launch of the server OS will bring virtualization tools to 95 percent of the market that remains untouched by the technology.

A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.

clarification Microsoft hopes the upcoming launch of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 will light the way to virtualization for the many servers upon which the technology has not been implemented.

Speaking to press members at a briefing, Microsoft's Asia-Pacific business and marketing officer, Andrew Pickup, referred to virtualization as the "holy grail of IT infrastructure", and yet a mere 5 percent of servers in the market have implemented the technology.

Chris Sharp, Microsoft Asia-Pacific general manager, server and tools, explained in an interview with ZDNet Asia this is due to "a number of different complexities" which have traditionally prevented users from embarking on virtualization implementations.

One such complexity has been a lack of control over the virtualization processes leading to the inability for CIOs to translate results into returns on investment (ROI) to justify the implementation.

A survey published by CA last year revealed 44 percent of some 800 respondents were unsure of their deployments' success, with 40 percent saying they had either failed to achieve expected cost savings or could not tell.

Sharp said Windows Server 2008 comes with a management tool that "eases the whole implementation...attempting to guide you through".

Jagganath Narendran, Microsoft APAC Windows Server 2008 lead, said the tool allows the administrator to manage both physical and virtual servers post implementation from one place.

"Virtualization being out of the box is a trend that a lot of our customers can broadly leverage on. It will democratize virtualization," he said.

That "democratization" is also expected to come in the form of lowered cost. Quoting Yankee Group statistics, Narendran said the cost of implementing and managing virtualization on Microsoft's offering is expected to cost a third of competitor VMWare's offering.

Wilvin Chee, IDC Asia-Pacific software research director, said in an interview, that interest in virtualization in the region is high because virtualization's promise of cost reduction resonates well with the region's companies, which are faced with legacy infrastructure they need to utilize as well as tight budgets.

Firms have invested in too much infrastructure, said Chee, noting that the adoption of virtualization is currently very low. IDC does not have figures on the level of server utilization.

According to Forrester Research, businesses that operate a Windows server environment typically run such servers at only 8 percent of their full capacity.

IDC's Chee concurred that in spite of interest, uptake is slow. "Virtualization is not a concept that people can deploy right away, because there is a lot of consideration in redeploying resources and the skills involved.

"Virtualization isn't a quick fix," he added.

Virtualization is one core aspect of a new feature of Windows Server 2008, termed server core, which allows the user to install specific capabilities of the server OS selectively, choosing to run the OS more thinly if the entire OS is not required.

The launch of Windows Server 2008 together with other Microsoft offerings, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008, will kick off with a large-scale event in the United States on Feb. 27.

Clarification: IDC wishes to clarify its statement that "firms have invested in more infrastructure than they need", should instead read "firms have invested in too much infrastructure". IDC also noted that "virtualization", and not "utilization", is currently very low.
Also, we would like to clarify that the server resource rate of 8 percent was provided by Forrester Research. The article now reflects the changes.