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Virtual Servers Top Physical Ones, WAN Optimization Soars: IDC

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LAS VEGAS — According to IDC analyst Cindy Borovick, 2010 will be the first year in which the number of deployed virtual servers will outnumber the number of physical ones.

While the number of virtualized servers are growing, the real driver that IDC is seeing pushing enterprises forward is the need for IT to create efficiencies in the overall business, Borovick said during a presentation here at the Interop conference.

That need to create efficiency and to drive down cost is also fuelling growth in the WAN optimization space in particular, she said.

“The WAN optimization space is the first space that has captured the attention of the entire IT organization, including the directors of IT,” Borovick said. “The reason for the attention is the fact that the directors know how much they spend with their service providers, which is typically 15 percent of their operating expences.”

Borovick added that enterprises are seeing WAN optimization as a conduit to helping them achieve their strategic goals in terms of data center consolidation and delivering apps in the most efficient way.

Optimizing traffic is becoming increasingly important as data center convergence is now in full swing. Borovick said that IDC defines convergence as the combination of server, storage and network infrastructure into a pool of resources that can be assigned as needed to business services.

According to Borovick, the move to converged networks is also what drove Cisco to develop its Unified Computing System.

“Cisco had no choice but to move into the unified computing space,” Borovick said. “If Cisco wanted to be an IT provider, … convergence is where the industry is going and it’s important for Cisco as a company to play in the converged infrastructure space.”

Borovick added that enterprises want cost savings, more flexibility and the ability to allocate application service levels. An adjunct to that need is the growth of the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market, with ADCs now increasingly becoming virtualized appliances themselves. Borovick cited a new IDC survey that found that 42 percent of respondents will move to virtual networking appliance for cost savings.

Overall, Borovick noted that networking giant Cisco still makes up over 50 percent of the data center networking market but the future is uncertain. She sees increasing competition from vendors like HP, which has recently revamped its networking division, as well as vendors like Brocade and F5.

“At the end of the day, customers will win from this new competition in the industry and it will increase IT flexibility,” Borovick said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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