March 20, 2007 11:08 AM PDT

Virtualization leads IDC to cut server forecast

IDC on Tuesday lopped 4.5 million units off its forecast for the number of x86 servers to ship in the second half of the decade after concluding that virtualization and multicore processors are cutting into purchases.

That 4.5 million number is a major change--about 10 percent of the servers the market analysis firm had expected would be sold from 2006 to 2010. In addition, the firm trimmed its spending forecast by $2.4 billion.

"Overall, x86 (server) shipments that were once projected to increase 61 percent by 2010 are now facing just 39 percent growth during that same period," IDC said.

The reason for the change is that customers are buying fewer, more powerful systems, IDC argued. Virtualization lets a single system run multiple operating systems simultaneously; multicore processors amplify the consolidation trend by enabling individual servers to handle more work.

EMC subsidiary VMware leads the market for x86 server virtualization, which lets a single physical machine house multiple operating systems in compartments called virtual machines. Xen, an open-source competitor commercialized by XenSource and others, is now built into the prevailing versions of Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server. And Microsoft plans to release its own comparable technology, code-named Viridian, in 2008.

IDC forecast that the number of servers used to run virtual machines will increase significantly from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, 1.7 million physical servers will be shipped to run virtual machines--14.6 percent of the total shipments compared with 4.5 percent in 2005

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KVM not Xen
KVM is rapidly emerging as the winning technology for server virtualization in the Linux community, displacing Xen. Red Hat is now telling customers to "ignore Xen" and to focus on KVM which is getting far more traction.
Posted by servermaker (125 comments )
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Either has a <i>long</i> way to go to catch up to VMWare. VMWare also has going for it the fact that it can use either Linux or Windows for the VM hosting environment.
Posted by ferricoxide (1125 comments )
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Red Hat not saying ignore Xen
Red Hat has spoken favorably about KVM (see <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a> for example), but it has by no means told customers to ignore Xen. On the contrary, it just began including Xen as the most prominent feature of its new RHEL 5, introduced last week. The company argues that its libvirt software will enable customers to use a variety of virtualization foundations, though.
Posted by Shankland (1858 comments )
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