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Photos: Who's virtualisation's biggest fan? The sectors that can't get enough

And those that are hanging back
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By Tim Ferguson on
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1 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

And those that are hanging back

Virtualisation is undoubtedly one of the hot technologies going into 2010, with desktop virtualisation gaining significant momentum while server virtualisation's take-up continues to increase.

According to analyst house Gartner, global revenues for virtualisation software will total more than $1.8bn in 2009 and rise to $2.1bn in 2010, with one in five businesses using virtualisation in some form by the end of this year.

But which industries and types of businesses have been keen to adopt virtualisation and who's still taking a wait-and-see approach? Click on through this photo story to find out more.

Financial services organisations have been using virtualisation for some time, initially to consolidate their server estates.

The industry's interest in virtualisation continues to remain strong, however, with virtualisation cited as the main infrastructure priority for 43 per cent of financial organisations next year, according to recent research by grid computing provider Platform Computing.

Investment banks in particular have been keen adopters of desktop virtualisation.

"Financial services see desktop virtualisation as providing a competitive advantage, and as such are more mature it its adoption of the technology than other sectors," Ovum analyst Roy Illsley told silicon.com.

Image credit: harshilshah100 via Flickr.com under the following Creative Commons Licence

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2 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

One of the financial services institutions using virtualisation is Zurich Financial Services, which recently announced an outsourcing deal with CSC to supply datacentre and IT services. Server virtualisation is a key part of the 10-and-a-half year deal.

Image credit: Zurich Financial Services

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The public sector is also increasingly turning to virtualisation.

The government recently launched a strategy to green government IT. As part of the strategy, government agencies submitted green action plans which featured measures including server virtualisation and thin clients implemented to help reduce carbon emissions.

Gartner research VP Phil Dawson said there has been a "big swing" in virtualisation adoption in the education sector too.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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The NHS is also using virtualisation as a central part of its efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.

The hope is that the reduction of physical servers will help towards the NHS' efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent between 2007 and 2015.

Desktop virtualisation is also likely to feature on the NHS agenda in the future. "Healthcare and local government are the next sectors [after financial services] where desktop virtualisation will begin to be used, driven by the need for security and cost savings," Illsley said.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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5 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

Gartner's Dawson said that retail organisations are becoming increasingly interested in virtualisation due to the large amount of locations and networks they operate. By using virtualisation these organisations can reduce the amount of physical servers they run at each location, cutting costs and carbon emissions significantly.

One of the biggest players in retail, Tesco, has already invested in the technology. During the first half of 2009, the supermarket giant carried out a project to virtualise 1,500 of its UK Windows-based servers with technology from Citrix. Like the NHS, the company is hoping the work will lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions.

Ovum's Illsley said: "Retail use virtualisation of the servers to enable it to be more responsive to highly variable market conditions, i.e. Christmas, Easter etc, but desktop virtualisation has not yet proven to be of interest, which is probably due to the highly centralised nature of its business."

Image credit: Tesco

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6 of 7 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

Industry experts have seen an increase in small and medium-sized business using virtualisation, something that Ovum's Illsley attributes to Microsoft's entry into the virtualisation market with its Hyper-V software, included as part of its Windows Server 2008 product.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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On the other hand, analysts suggest that manufacturing has so far been less keen to embrace virtualisation. According to Illsley this is due to the fact that the sector has often been a laggard when embracing newer technology.

"Server virtualisation across all sectors has 20 per cent of the production market [servers not used for testing purposes]; this is highest in financial services, government, and lowest in manufacturing. However, we believe that over the next two years server virtualisation for production use will break the 50 per cent barrier to become the dominant datacentre technology," he said.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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