Q&A: Ratmir Timashev, Veeam Software, talks about V-index

Veeam Software recently launched its new community portal, V-Index. The portal is a free resource which tracks the penetration rate of virtualisation in the enterprise. It’s main aim is to take an ongoing snapshot of virtualisation’s penetration within the enterprise, consolidation ratios, use of different hypervisors (such as Microsoft and VMware) and possible barriers to further adoption. BCW caught up with Ratmir Timashev, President and CEO at Veeam Software, to find out whether businesses have overestimated their use of virtual servers in the enterprise.

What is V-Index, and why have you started this project?

V-index is a free resource which tracks the penetration rate of virtualisation across the server estates of large-scale enterprises. It can be accessed at www.V-index.com, and we plan to develop it into a community portal.

We started this project to get an ongoing snapshot of virtualisation’s penetration within the enterprise, consolidation ratios, use of different hypervisors and the possible barriers to further adoption. The V-index is intended to provide a simple, measurable, consistent view of the impact of the technology and grant an understanding both of virtualisation’s progress towards becoming the de facto IT platform and the obstacles in its way.

Who is this project designed to benefit?

This project is designed to help anyone interested in virtualisation, from vendors to users to resellers and more: it will help them get a fuller picture of how virtualisation is developing and give them more insight when making the decisions around investment and deployment of these technologies.

What is the current penetration rate and how was it calculated?

We found that the current penetration rate is 39.4%. In other words, of all servers in the enterprises we surveyed, 39.4% are virtual. We calculated this by surveying 544 enterprises in the US, UK, France and Germany and comparing the total number of physical to virtual servers.

What else has the V-Index found so far? For example, average use of virtualisation, the split of the Hypervisor market, likely growth?

The V-Index has found that the average number of physical servers in an enterprise is 664. Furthermore, 91.9% of all enterprises are using virtualisation to some degree and, of these enterprises; each has on average 470 virtual machines. In the average enterprise, 113 physical machines are being used as hosts for virtual infrastructure.

The V-index also allows us to view the market share of the various virtualisation vendors. Of those enterprises using virtualisation, 84% use VMware, 61% use Microsoft Hyper-V, 55.4% use Citrix Xen and 12% use other hypervisors. When it comes to identifying which is their “primary” hypervisor, 58% of enterprises use VMware, 20.2% use Citrix Xen, 18.6% use Microsoft Hyper-V and 3% use another vendor.

The V-Index also indicated the potential growth of virtualisation in the next year: of the enterprises already using virtualisation, 81.4% are planning to increase their level of server virtualisation in the next 12 months.

Are these statistics as expected?

For the most part, yes. We expected to see the majority of enterprises using virtualisation to some degree and an increase in uptake, as more and more businesses are beginning to see the value in it. By moving into virtualisation, businesses are able to save on storage space, time and money and with the right tools transforming existing management processes such as data protection and disaster recovery.

Are there any areas where enterprises need to improve?

Yes. The V-Index found that the perceived virtual machine to physical host consolidation ratio is 9.8:1, which means businesses believe that each of their physical hosts is hosting 9.8 virtual machines. However, interestingly, the V-Index found that this was an overestimation of businesses’ use of virtualisation: by calculating the ratio of virtual machines to physical hosts for each individual enterprise, the actual average consolidation ratio comes to 6.3:1.

This indicates that there is a disconnect between businesses’ perceived consolidation rate and the actual consolidation rate, highlighting that businesses aren’t fully aware of how they are using virtualisation and what they use are using it for.

What is the significance of this?

The V-Index consolidation rate figures indicate there is a lack of knowledge in the way organisations are using virtualisation. They need to be able to have full awareness of who created their virtual machines, what is on them, where they are located and when they came into being.

Without this information, organisations will miscalculate their consolidation rates and gradually lose control of their infrastructure. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the course of time: ideally we would like to see the perceived and actual consolidation rates moving closer together as organisations get a better grasp on their virtual environments.

Are there any barriers that are preventing further uptake of virtualisation?

Yes. The V-Index has found that there are numerous barriers preventing organisations from further uptake of virtualisation. Of the enterprises surveyed, 38.8% cited concerns about reliability, while 37% said they feared the need to wait for a hardware refresh before deployment. Furthermore, 32.4% stated concerns around application performance, 32.4% said they are concerned about the ability to backup and restore data and 30.8% highlighted concerns around managing the virtual estate.

How would you expect the V-Index results to change from quarter to quarter?

Overall, I’d expect the penetration rate to expand as the adoption virtual servers continues to outpace physical machines. As we move on, I’d also expect to see a more accurate business perception of the consolidation ratio. This should come as organisations begin to learn more about virtualisation and how to manage it accurately and effectively.

When do you predict that we will reach 100% of organisations using virtualisation?

I believe that 100% of organisations will be using virtualisation in the next 18 months: this doesn’t mean that it will be their primary IT infrastructure but the technology is now simply too disruptive to ignore.

Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.