CDW-G report shows keys to virtualization success in federal agencies

 CDW-G report shows keys to virtualization success in federal agencies

CDW Government (CDW-G) has assessed client, server and storage virtualization in federal civilian and defense agencies in its “2009 Federal Virtualization Report.”According to the report, which was based on an April survey of 377 federal IT managers, found that 73 percent of respondents said the technique (a broad term used to describe the abstraction of computer resources) is integral to improved IT operations efficiency and reduced costs, but only 20 percent said their agencies are currently using virtualization to the fullest extent.

However, 79 percent said their agencies have begun the implementation of some form of virtualization. Only 50 percent of those IT managers said their implementations have been successful, with respondents citing the lack of front-end funding to capture the larger benefits as the largest obstacle to greater success.

“Federal IT managers are focused on improving the return on every technology investment they make, and they understand keenly the cost and operating efficiencies that are achievable with virtualization,” said Andy Lausch, vice president of federal sales for CDW-G, in a statement. “Unfortunately, virtualization investments — which deliver bigger savings and productivity improvements in the long run — are sometimes shelved in favor of short-term initiatives.”

According to the report, 59 percent of federal agencies have implemented server virtualization and 51 percent are also using storage virtualization. Forty-nine percent have implemented client virtualization. Benefits cited by IT managers included reduced capital and operating costs, improved continuity of operations, improved network security, and better utilization and capacity management of computing resources.

“We have saved so much time and money, and it fits in well with our continuity of operations plan,” one respondent said. Another stated, “We have significantly reduced costs and maximized use of hardware.”

Aside from budget, federal IT managers also cited education and training as key to the success of virtualization within their agencies. Of those who said their IT departments are appropriately staffed and trained to migrate to and manage a virtualized environment, 67 percent described their virtualization implementation as successful, compared to just 22 percent of those in organizations where the IT department is not fully trained. They noted that CIO knowledge is also essential to success. Of the respondents who gave their CIOs an A or B grade for virtualization proficiency, 62 percent said their agency successfully implemented a virtualized environment, compared to 34 percent of respondents who gave their CIO a C, D or F.

Additionally, IT managers called for increased education of IT staff on virtualization options (42 percent), increased budget (41 percent) and increased staff training and virtualization management (39 percent) to ensure success.

The entire report can be found at CDW-G’s Web site.

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