Enterprise Use of Virtualization Technology: Beware the Hidden Dangers

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Monday, October 17, 2016 with No comments

While lots of information exists about virtualization technology broadly, not as much is known about how that technology is actually being used by enterprises. Last year, Ixia set out to remedy that with a survey and subsequent report (still quite relevant) that revealed risks businesses may not even be aware of as they move toward a more software-centric network and telecommunications environment. 

In its survey, Ixia asked enterprises two main questions:
  1. How are you using virtualization technology?
  2. How does your business monitor its virtualized environments?
Taken together, the results lay out strategies enterprises should use to ensure virtualization technology is completely integrated into corporate network structures.

Ixia concluded that, because of the way virtualization technology is currently used by businesses, enterprises put themselves at risk of creating network and data center environments with hidden dangers and blind spots.

Enterprises are adopting virtualization largely as a cost-cutting measure, Ixia found, but those initial savings are being offset by hidden costs, both direct and indirect.

Respondents expressed concern specifically about data security, data center management skills, inability to monitor virtualized applications, and the recurring cost of software. While a significant majority agreed that monitoring is important, almost a third raised red flags about their lack of ability to monitor their virtual environments.

At the time of the report, only 37% of enterprises surveyed said they currently monitored their virtualized environments in the way they would with physical environments. They were aware of this deficit, with 38% saying they planned to increase their monitoring capabilities over the following two years.

Another concern is one of worker skills: enterprise IT staff in charge of virtualized environments lacking understanding of fundamentals like virtual taps or network packet broker/monitoring switches. Almost two-third of respondents said they did not understand the monitoring technology in use for their virtualization environment. Equally worrying is the fact that only about a quarter of businesses have the same staff monitor and manage their virtualization technology.

Since more than two-third of the enterprises said they use virtualization for business-critical applications, it’s clear they are setting themselves up for problems when monitoring is lacking and/or their IT workers do not have the skills to effectively use visibility tools. Fortunately, awareness of this deficit is growing, and no doubt companies will increasingly invest in workforce training and monitoring technology to gain better control over their virtualized IT environments.

Read the full report for a more in-depth look at virtualization in the enterprise. Learn more about WAN analytics and distributed packet brokering for enterprises on our website.