Not everyone is sold on the value of virtual servers and consolidation. When BrassRing LLC needs to add horsepower to its hosting operations, co-located at a Qwest Communications International Inc. data center in Sterling, Va., it adds another server to the pool. The cost of Intel-based servers has come down enough that it's not a great expense to grow its server farm, says Andy Cooper, CIO of BrassRing, which develops and hosts software for managing personnel. BrassRing buys refurbished servers from HP for its development environment. That way, if there's a problem with a server, it doesn't take down multiple virtual servers, Cooper says.
BrassRing has tested VMware in its development environment but doesn't plan to expand its use. Cooper says he hears talk about on-demand computing and adaptive enterprises, but he isn't convinced they're worth implementing just yet. "Everyone's looking for a way to simplify systems," he says, "but that's a pretty difficult thing to do."
Simple or not, that day is coming, Gartner's Bittman argues. By the end of 2007, 40% of the world's largest 1,000 companies will use partitioning technologies on Windows servers, he predicts. Unlike mainframes, which use more than 80% of their resources, Windows servers typically run only a single copy of an operating system and a single app. "Today, people are buying cost reduction," he says. "They want a system that provides the benefits of agility, savings, and uptime. Virtualization delivers all of this."
Illustration by Celia Johnson