According to a recent Forrester research survey, 91 percent of those companies surveyed said that they were using virtual servers to help with some aspect of their workloads. Compare this from only 78 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and it is apparent that the virtual server market is maturing as companies come to realize the benefits in moving some or all of their data away from a physical server iteration.
The author of the study, Andrew Reichman, believes that as the market matures, more and more companies are going to move their mission-critical applications to virtual platforms, placing increasing pressure on providers to get the architecture right and ensure that these applications are both protected and do not suffer from interruption. According to Reichman, virtual servers are most commonly used for supporting Web applications but as the market has grown, these servers have been getting more and more use as database support.
While the market is growing steadily, there are a still a number of challenges that companies looking to move to a virtual environment are faced with, the most notable being capacity management and costs. Although shared hosting services give companies a measure of independence and scalability, these same companies must consider how their data is being stored and how quickly they will be able to have it restored in the event of a disaster. As well, due to the maturing nature of the market, costs for service can vary wildly among providers, meaning that companies must often do a great deal of searching in order to find a provider with both the service and the price they need. Fortunately, the industry as a whole is growing more robust and is, overall, offering greater benefits to SMBs.