Virtualisation will be a key infrastructure priority for CIOs looking to reduce costs and increase energy efficiency over the next 12 months.

Three-quarters of’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said virtualisation – the simultaneous running of several operating systems on a single desktop or server – is one of their current investment priorities.

Peter Pedersen, CTO at Rank Group, said: “Virtualisation is very much a priority to reduce cost, to increase agility, reduce space requirement and to reduce ‘carbon footprint’ through reduction in power utilisation for both equipment and cooling.”

Reducing the number of physical servers is also saving on management and facility costs for Ben Booth, global CTO at polling and market research group Ipsos.

He said: “It’s good for business as we can cut costs, and good for the environment as overall it helps us reduce our carbon footprint. Of course, major applications still require multiple servers but for the smaller systems it is proving to be a very effective technology.”

Cost savings and energy efficiency aren’t the only benefits of the virtualisation approach. Paul Hopkins, IT director at Newcastle University, said: “There are lots of different and often complimentary reasons, including capital cost savings, revenue savings, green issues, resilience, performance, and capacity management.”

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Graham Yellowley, director of technology services at investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, added: “We are looking to leverage virtualisation to maximise our computing efficiency, reduce our data centre space, power and cooling requirements, and to provide an effective disaster recovery facility at a cost lower than purchasing multiple individual machines. Combining multiple grid computing farms and adding virtualisation is also on the agenda.”

One company already well down the virtualisation path is insurance group Markel International. Steve Fountain, IT director at Markel International, said: “We actually embarked on this some three years ago and have already ‘virtualised’ a very high proportion of our Windows servers onto a very much smaller number of ‘significant’ IBM Intel servers. Very successful it has been too, so much so that VMWare is now our stated ‘preferred’ platform of choice.”

But not everyone is yet convinced by the arguments for virtualisation. Mark Beattie, head of IT at LondonWaste, said: “We have so many different systems which need to interact, I just don’t have the confidence that it’d all hang together if we tried virtualisation.”

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Ian Auger, head of IT and communications, ITN
Ade Bajomo, head of IT strategy and systems, Pearl Life
Mark Beattie, head of IT, LondonWaste
Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO, Sodexho UK
Steve Fountain, IT director, Markel International
Paul Hopkins, IT director, Newcastle University
Tony Johnson, IT director, Virgin Retail
Rob Neil, head of ICT, Ashford Borough Council
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Rank Group
David Supple, head of IT, communications and creative services, Ecotec
Graham Yellowley, director of technology services, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International

Want to be part of’s CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at