The Journey stages I discussed in this post cover most of the customers we interviewed so far.
There are few exceptions. I talked about the case where customers start their journey in the Business Production phase virtualizing production databases. A minority.
There is also another pattern that is notably different: ISVs (Independent Software Vendors).
ISVs make software for a living, so optimizing their Dev, Test, QA environment is mission critical for them. Moreover the number of test and dev servers they own typically outnumbers the servers they use to run their business.
As a result their stage I (test and dev) is both much prolonged and much bigger in scale. One may say that they reach stage 3 which is typically characterized by >50% virtualized servers without ever going through phase II (Business production).
For example, I interviewed a large ISV last week. They have 18,000 test and dev servers vs. <200 servers that run business applications. They virtualized 50% of their test and dev servers saving north of 20 million but they have not tackled their business applications yet. In a typical enterprise customer scenario when the virtualization percentage reaches 25-30%, that’s when customers typically start virtualizing business applications and databases switching the value proposition from server consolidation to better SLA and business continuity. In the ISV example above, virtualizing more test and dev is where they are going to get the biggest business benefits as they are vastly improving their development efficiency and the quality of their software while at the same time cutting support and hardware costs.
Besides aggressively virtualizing more test and dev servers on their way to 100% virtualized environment, they are also increasing the level of provisioning and management automation by deploying self-service capabilities. Their target is 30% self-service penetration within a year.
In summary, although the three stages of adoption apply to most enterprise customers, there are exceptions that highlights interesting use cases and best practices.
All scenarios seem to have one thing in common thou: what drives high level of virtualization adoptions are clear business drivers that are beyond server consolidation.