Survey: Few companies virtualizing critical apps

Despite hype and promise of virtualization, many companies are avoiding the tech for mission-critical applications. A new survey helps to explain why.

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg
3 min read

The results of a new survey from application performance management provider AppDynamics shows that despite all the hype around virtualization, most companies haven't yet virtualized their mission-critical applications.

Despite widely acknowledging the benefits of virtualization, most companies noted that they need more evidence that mission-critical applications will succeed in virtual environments. Roughly 80 percent had already deployed or planned to deploy virtualization for nonmission critical applications so there's no need to worry for the state of the market.

This does however bring up a few questions, namely, why is virtualization not being used for mission-critical applications?

According to the survey, there are three main areas of concern:

  • Internal versus external facing--Comfort with internal applications running virtualized but a perceived risk in running customer-facing systems in virtual environments
  • People, performance and design questions--A lack of skills, questions about performance, and overall application architecture insert a level of risk
  • Lack of confidence--Despite all of the obvious benefits, many are concerned their applications won't run as well in virtual environments

In a Q&A with CNET, AppDynamics CEO Jyoti Bansal further explained the survey results:

Q: Why did you guys conduct this survey in the first place?
Bansal: We recognize that virtualization and cloud computing are top of mind for many companies today, and that virtualization in particular will be a priority for CIOs in the next year. At the same time, we've seen hesitation when it comes to mission-critical apps and systems. We wanted to learn more about these perceived obstacles and help shed light on how to successfully deploy Tier 1 apps in virtual environments.

What are the key takeaways from this survey?
Bansal: We learned that even though the benefits of virtualization are compelling, application owners lack the confidence needed to commit to virtualizing their mission-critical applications. There is a big divide between the pace of adoption of virtualization for noncritical systems versus the Tier 1 critical systems. More than 80 percent had virtualized their noncritical systems, while only 14 percent had virtualized their Tier 1 apps. What they are missing is hard evidence that their application will perform acceptably once virtualized. This lack of confidence has caused "VM stall" when it comes to mission-critical apps.

What were the top reasons that application owners are wary of virtualizing their apps?
Bansal: More than 50 percent cited "people issues" as the top obstacle to virtualization--application owners who block the project to virtualize the Tier 1 application. Close behind were worries about design and performance degradation. What this shows is a disconnect between application and virtualization teams and a real lack of confidence that apps will be successful in a virtual environment.

What changes are needed to ensure adoption?
Bansal: Simply put, virtualization teams and application owners need to start speaking the same language. These groups have different objectives--application owners are responsible for 100 percent application uptime and for meeting stringent performance SLAs, while virtualization teams are working to meet goals for migrating their systems to virtual environments.

While the benefits of virtualization are acknowledged by both sides (agility, responsiveness, server and power savings, etc), its critical for virtualization leaders to demonstrate to app owners that they can safely make the switch while meeting all of their performance and availability benchmarks. Virtualization leaders need to produce hard evidence to assure the company that Tier 1 applications will meet business objectives and SLAs once virtualized.

How does AppDynamics provide application owners with this information?
Bansal: We do this by base-lining performance in the nonvirtualized environment and capturing detailed transaction and code-level performance metrics to provide an apples-to-apples comparison of performance, pre- and post-virtualization. Our aim is to help both the virtualization teams and application owners gain comfort that they will achieve their objectives.