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Empowered Databases, Empowered Managers—The Impact of Virtualization on Agility

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As virtualization is becoming commonplace across today’s enterprises, expect to see increasing virtualization of data assets, enabling new types of services and capabilities, such as database as a service. At the same time, organizations with highly virtualized environments are more likely to be making the transition to cloud-based services.

These are some of the findings of a new survey of 338 data managers and professionals who are members of the Independent Oracle Users Group. The study was conducted by Unisphere Research and sponsored by VMware and EMC. The survey finds that the use of virtualization within Oracle database environments is increasing—almost two-thirds of organizations report increases over the past year. Nearly half of the organizations adopting virtualization say that more than 50% of their IT infrastructure is virtualized. More than one-third report that a majority of their databases are already virtualized. 

Source: The Empowered Database: 2014 Enterprise Platform Decisions Survey

Database Environment Virtualization Increase During the Past Year

Increased significantly... 27%

Increased somewhat ... 37%

Has not changed ... 31%

Has decreased ... 0%

Don’t know/unsure ... 4%

Exploding data assets and the need for greater agility are helping to drive the move to virtualization. More than two-thirds of organizations indicate that the number of Oracle databases they manage is expanding. At the same time, many managers admit that their IT departments are sluggish when it comes to responding to new business requirements. For more than 50% of organizations, it takes their IT department 30 days or more to respond to new initiatives or deploy new solutions. For one-quarter of organizations, it takes 90 days or more.

Slightly less than one-third of enterprises in the survey have more “mature” virtualization sites, meaning that they have had virtualized databases for more than 3 years. The level of experience with virtualization helps shape perceptions about the costs and benefits of virtualization. For example, the survey finds many of the objections to moving to virtualization melt away as organizations gain more experience with the technology and methodology. Overall, the No. 1 objection encountered in the survey to virtualizing mission-critical databases is increased licensing costs. However, at the same time, 55% of respondents list cost reduction as the primary benefit of virtualizing their Oracle environments. Those respondents in highly virtualized environments are less concerned with licensing costs than those managers who have not yet begun their virtualization journey.

Source: The Empowered Database: 2014 Enterprise Platform Decisions Survey

 Mission-Critical Databases Virtualized

None, entirely physical ... 29%

1% to 24% virtualized ... 19%

25% to 49% virtualized ... 13%

50% to 74% virtualized ... 10%

75% or more virtualized ... 24%

Respondents in mature virtualization sites are also less concerned with any additional hardware or systems costs, or about security and vendor support. The only area of concern that increases is the availability of skills to help organizations in the transition.

When asked about the benefits from their virtualization efforts, most data managers, 55%, report seeing reduced costs across their IT infrastructures, and also cite the enhanced consolidation and standardization that virtualization enables. Another 39% note that virtualization has brought about greater agility, which suggests that the technology and methodology may be helping to address the IT backlog that is holding back delivery of new services.

When it comes to the use of cloud for Oracle databases, most initiatives are coming out of private clouds. About one-third of respondents employ private cloud services and 11% use public cloud. Twenty-six percent of respondents say they are increasing the use of private cloud services for their Oracle environments, versus 8% employing public clouds. Oracle customers are running in virtual private cloud environments versus public and using a “build-your-own” approach to Oracle infrastructure. This may be related to the fact that Oracle sites tend to be data center-centric, and thus are likely to have a stake in maintaining on-premises resources.

Thirty-seven percent of virtualized enterprises also employ private cloud, compared to 17% of non-virtualized environments. Virtualized enterprises are also three times as likely to be adopting hybrid clouds, and five times as likely to be adopting public clouds.

Cloud and virtualization are being seamlessly absorbed into the jobs of most database administrators, and in some cases, reducing traditional activities while expanding their roles. The majority of DBAs want to improve on their work in the private cloud and have found that virtualization adds value without impacting their jobs. Many DBAs indicate that virtualization is expanding their roles, especially as deployment progresses over a period of years. Among respondents whose enterprises have had database virtualization for more than 3 years, 31% report expansion of DBA duties—compared to 14% of those organizations just starting out. Likewise, at cloud sites, the percentage reporting increased DBA roles jumps from 7% to 27%.

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