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In November 2009, CA commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the impact, challenges, and requirements around the operational aspects of virtualization. The study confirms that virtualization is continuing to expand, and the technology introduces new levels of complexity that threaten the stability of services. As day-to-day production responsibility shifts from subject matter experts to operational generalists, new management and automation tools are needed to minimize the risks. In conducting surveys with 257 IT professionals, Forrester found that these companies achieved operational benefits from virtualization, but challenges remain. Virtualization improved IT worker productivity and service quality, but capacity management emerged as a top virtualization challenge and the needs for automation and including virtualized infrastructure into an overall IT service management movement also surfaced. To reap the full benefits of virtualization, as with any technology, management must become integral to the broader operational process and tools portfolio. Also, the skills needed for production use of virtualization must change. Specific management expansions must address performance concerns, which are best solved through model-based analysis and tool integration that drive good process execution toward IT operational excellence, as well as through taking a top-down, application-centric approach. Process reigns supreme, but good tools make processes real and give an opportunity to integrate and automate virtual and physical processes, across heterogeneous VM environments.
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