Virtualization in 2013: Staying the Course

Virtualization was a top priority last year. It continues to remain so for partners and CIOs alike.

IDC believes that virtualization is going to be one of the fastest growing segments in the global software market. It grew 4.7 percent in the first half of 2012 to $167 billion (about Rs 9 lakh crore) and has one of the most positive growth rates among the primary market segments.

According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, Principal Analyst, IDC India, there has been a lot of traction in server virtualization while network virtualization is yet to reach that stage. "We had the application service provider (ASP) model back in 2000 which was a complete failure in India because it was a cloud model without the virtualization infrastructure. Today, virtualized infrastructure happens to be the backbone of everything that we do," says Gogia.

Other analysts like AMI Partners stated in a study that, though virtualization as a technology is in its growing stages, the opportunities are plenty in the market across server, desktop and storage virtualization

in India. The reports have affirmed that need for virtualized infrastructure will increase exponentially in the forthcoming years and the size of this untapped market is considerable, presenting a huge growth potential for leading participants in the market.

Gartner analysts mentioned in the Hype Cycle Report 2012 that the price-sensitive Indian enterprises have recently shown a tendency to invest in transformational technologies like virtualization which offers a significant upside in terms of agility or productivity gains. This dynamic shift in business conditions is considered vital to drive business benefits.

Meeting demands

Channelworld's State of the Mart 2013 survey pointed out that around 22.8 percent of SIs in India would want to get into virtualization in 2013. Earlier some SIs stayed away from it for various reasons. While the ever increasing costs of datacenter and IT infrastructure has made virtualization a necessity, the technology would bring in additional revenue for SIs and increase their portfolio of services.

The need for virtualization is imminent, says Yogesh Mehta, Director, Sysware Infotech. "Enterprises want to reduce their carbon footprint and recurring costs. They are going to consolidate things and put more and more apps on fewer servers in a virtualized environment," he adds.

"Virtualization related projects deliver a lot of profitability at the end of the project cycle. These kinds of solutions will allow SIs to be more effective players. We could make good margins in these," says Ravi Putta, Co-founder and Managing Director, Alliance Prosys.

Moreover, the SIs would benefit from the services opportunity if the virtualized environment positioned for the customer is managed by the partner themselves. Vineet Dahiya, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Info Axon Technologies, says "Whatever solutions we offer, we put it on a virtualized environment. The hidden benefit of such a proposition is that more the complexity of the customer's infrastructure, the more play we get in terms of services."

Mehta from Sysware is upbeat about the company's plans for virtualization, mostly owing the changed mindset of the customer. "We are going to deploy virtualization solutions in the next 12 months and have already identified some resources in our office and will invest in associated tools."

Similarly, the need for virtualized environments for a better consolidated infrastructure is something Dahiya from Info Axon is vouching for. "Virtualization holds the promise of consolidation and reducing cost for enterprises by bringing in efficiency. It will help us get new clients in terms of bigger enterprises as a long-term strategic investment."

Making the most of it

But while these partners seem upbeat about such virtualized deployments' in the coming year, SIs like Alliance Prosys, one of the largest players of virtualization in India, has already reaped the benefits. "We have done a virtualization implementation for a client they were looking for an entire infrastructure consolidation. We sized an entire storage solution along with the consolidation of their networks and ERP licenses and had put it on a virtualization mode in a datacentre. We built a complete datacentre solution for the client and gave them the entire virtualization piece scalable for the next 10 years," says Putta.

Successful implementations like these surely send a positive signal to the SI community for many such implementations in 2013 but with a cautionary note. Many factors prohibit the widespread implementation of virtualization. Firstly, the partner needs to educate the customer about the impact of virtualized infrastructure. Until and unless the customer comprehends the functioning, virtualization will not see full fledged deployments. Putta sums it up by saying, "Consolidation will happen soon and it will be a huge market for SIs, but only if the partners are ready to educate the customer on how to add value to the project."

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