Virtualization: Not business as usual
Government officials are beginning to realize the extent to which virtualization represents a new way of doing business, a recent survey shows.
On the one hand, virtualization provides a much more cost-effective and flexible way to manage an agency’s information technology resources. On the other, the technology requires agencies to look at those resources from a different perspective.
For the IT department, virtualization offers clear advantages. Proponents of virtualization say that one of the chief benefits of the technology is that it enables an organization to take an on-demand approach to computing, in which resources can be added or removed on the fly.
Seventy-nine percent of respondents agreed that was true, while 16 percent were neutral and 5 percent disagreed.
Another potential benefit of virtualization is that it allows the IT department to modernize and expand its role as a service provider. Seventy-five percent of respondents agreed, 22 percent were neutral and 3 percent disagreed.
At the same time, the survey results suggest that government IT professionals find that the use of virtualization technology changes how they manage the overall performance of IT services. One possible change is in the role of the service-level agreement in the IT department’s relationship with vendors and internal customers.
Asked if virtualization elevates the importance of SLAs in those relationships, 71 percent of respondents agreed, 23 percent were neutral and 6 percent disagreed.
According to analysts at Gartner, however, virtualization actually leads to better SLAs, making it easier for organizations to determine and meet their performance goals. According to a June report, IT leaders should emphasize this benefit when selling chief information officers and other organization leaders on virtualization.
The survey suggests that some government leaders need a little selling. Fifty-four percent of respondents agreed that it is difficult to convince agency managers about the potential value of more widespread use of virtualization, 28 percent were neutral and 18 percent disagreed.