Virtualization may spell doom for the 1U "pizza box" server, as the ability to pack multiple virtual machines onto physical hosts has customers choosing larger standard servers and blades.
The iconic pizza box servers can't provide the VM density of blades, nor do they offer the levels of memory and CPU power found in larger 2U and 4U form factor servers, Nemertes Research analyst John Burke said Wednesday during Network World's IT Roadmap conference in Boston.
That doesn't mean pizza box servers are being thrown by the wayside when it comes to workloads running on non-virtualized servers. But in IT shops that make extensive use of hypervisors, "the 1Us are losing," Burke said. "We expect that will continue."
Nemertes surveys show most customers will not repurpose old servers for virtualization, instead buying new boxes that are more ideal for the partitioning technology. Blades, 2U, and 4U servers "will almost completely replace the 1Us over the next few years" as hosts of VMs, he said.
Burke shared several other findings from Nemertes Research benchmark surveys of IT pros from a mix of small, medium, and large enterprises. Ninety-three percent of surveyed IT pros are already using virtualization, though not necessarily in production. Nearly four out of five have virtual servers hosting customer-facing applications, while on the whole 38 percent of workloads are virtualized. About half the IT shops have seen quantifiable benefits from virtualization.
Disaster recovery is one of the main benefits. After virtualizing, 70 percent of respondents can fail systems over in less than an hour, while 26 percent can do so in five minutes. A third of respondents are able to fail over from a primary to a backup data center in less than an hour, while 10 percent are able to do so in less than five minutes. Before virtualizing, many small IT shops couldn't even afford a disaster-recovery site, and those that could were seeing failover times of two or three days, Burke said.
The findings were based on in-depth conversations rather than written surveys. Some of the findings were based on a sample size of about 75 respondents, while other findings were based on a sample size of about 200, Burke said.
At first glance, virtualization seems to improve manageability. On average, nine workloads are assigned to each administrator prior to virtualization, while after virtualizing, more than 60 workloads can be handled by a single IT pro, Burke's research indicates.
But the management tools IT is accustomed to upon aren't designed for virtual systems, instead treating each server as a physical box hosting one application, he said.
"A lot of this is happening without robust support from the management tools they're used to relying on," Burke said. "There's this level of complexity being added back into the datacenter."
Virtualization makes spinning up new applications seem so easy that many IT shops go overboard until they learn their lesson."Virtualization is like crack and people go crazy with it -- for a while," Burke said. Ultimately, datacenter managers learn to track life cycles and deploy VMs in a responsible manner.