October 04, 2010, 10:34 AM — Half of VMware's customer base is virtualizing http://www.networkworld.com/subnets/microsoft/ ">Microsoft Exchange and 65% virtualize SQL Server, but the majority of VMware customers are not virtualizing SAP and Oracle applications, according to survey data released by VMware.
VMware, which makes the most widely used x86 server virtualization software, revealed the data to illustrate that virtualization is robust and secure enough for customers to place critical applications inside virtual machines. However, the results, based on a survey of 1,083 customers in the United States, Europe and Asia, also show there is still much room for growth when it comes to virtualizing important business workloads.
While 65% of VMware customers who use Microsoft's SQL Server have virtualized at least one instance of the software, only 43% of total SQL workloads are inside VMs. A similar trend occurs with Microsoft Exchange: 50% of customers virtualize at least one instance of Exchange, but only 38% of total instances are virtualized.
The opposite is true with Microsoft SharePoint. While only 41% of customers have virtualized SharePoint, a total of 53% of SharePoint instances are in VMs.
"I think the percentages are definitely higher than most people think," says Gaetan Castelein, a product marketing executive for mission-critical application virtualization at VMware.
The data may not tell the whole story, however. Just because a customer virtualizes Exchange does not mean the customer is virtualizing all aspects of Exchange, says Gartner analyst Chris Wolf. A customer might put a front-end server that routs messages into a VM, but keep mailbox servers and databases in physical servers because they have higher I/O requirements, he says.
Beyond Microsoft applications, the VMware survey data also shows adoption of virtualization is significantly smaller when it comes to SAP and Oracle. Thirty-four percent of VMware customers virtualize Oracle database, 20% virtualize Oracle Middleware, and 12% virtualize SAP applications.
The total number of instances running inside virtual machines is 25% for both Oracle database and middleware, and 18% for SAP apps.
VMware conducted the survey in January, and showed results to analysts at the recent VMworld conference, but has not published them. Because the survey occurred nine months ago, the percentage of customers virtualizing mission-critical applications could be higher today.