“Vendors have embraced it. It’s not just virtual machines now, it’s virtual storage, virtual networking, virtual security. Every single facet of IT is virtualised to some degree,” said Gavin Lockhart, technical sales consultant at Ergo. Rather than attempting to build their own virtualisation systems from the ground up, businesses are trying to make the most of what’s available by picking and choosing from the array of services on offer from various vendors. “What we see more and more now is that enterprise customers are using hybrid virtualisation,” said Lockhart. “They’re using a mixture of on-premises, public cloud offerings and some of the big players might also be using Azure, or they could be using smaller bespoke solutions for different things. The biggest thing we see is that nobody is in one place exclusively. They tend to be in multiple different places for different workloads.”
Network virtualisation has yet to be added to the priority lists of most Irish businesses, according to Lockhart. “We see less network virtualisation because it’s relatively new, the uptake hasn’t been as large as things like server or desktop virtualisation. I would imagine that this will be mostly used by the big data centres rather than most businesses,” he said.
However, one trend which is on the minds of businesses are the growing concerns about the security of virtualisations — a concern which is reaching all areas of IT. “In terms of things like firewalls, everyone is going to want a physical firewall on their perimeter from my experience,” said Lockhart. “Generally it’s better to have it, but we do see more that there may also be virtual firewalls within that hypervisor infrastructure as well. Security is really driving a lot of this at the moment, particularly with all these outbreaks of ransomware, and also with GDPR coming next year. That is driving a lot of compliance and IT spend and technology.”
But security is not just a passing trend either, according to Lockhart. “I expect the whole security issue at the moment is going to drive things into the future,” he said. “Different security products, segmentation of networks, I can see that taking off.”
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