Virtualization: Survey says feds remain lukewarm

Only 20 percent of respondents say their agencies are harnessing the technology to its fullest.

Although nearly three-quarters of federal information technology managers recognize the benefits of virtualization, just 20 percent say their agencies are harnessing the technology to its fullest, according to a new report.

Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said their agencies have begun implementing some form of virtualization, but only 50 percent said the implementation has been successful.

The report, released today by CDW Government Inc., surveyed 377 federal IT managers in April.

The IT managers cited the many benefits of virtualization, including reduced capital and operating costs, improved continuity of operations and network security, and better utilization of computing resources.

However, they also cited the lack of up-front funding to capture the larger but later benefits as the single biggest obstacle to greater success in establishing virtualization within the federal government.

The IT managers agreed that education and training would improve virtualization success.

The survey found that 51 percent of federal agencies are utilizing storage virtualization, a method of making many different physical storage networks and devices appear as one entity for purposes of management and administration.

Forty-nine percent of federal agencies have implemented client virtualization, a method of running multiple desktops and/or applications centrally in the data center.

In addition, the CDW-G survey reported that 59 percent of federal agencies have implemented server virtualization, a method of running multiple independent server operating systems on a single physical server.

Based upon the findings, the survey recommends that federal agencies:

  • Share best practices with other agencies and private-sector peers.
  • Become intimately familiar with the agency IT budget to accurately project virtualization return on investment.
  • Secure CIO and other senior executive buy-in; encourage CIO virtualization proficiency.
  • Audit training needs and implement programs for rank-and-file and executive. staff. Task subject matter experts with staying abreast of virtualization advances.
  • Select and track metrics to ensure virtualization delivers against goals.

CDW Government, of Vernon Hills, Ill., ranks No. 60 on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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