While virtualisation adoption rates are high, its full potential has yet to be unlocked. This is one of the results of research commissioned by HP which surveyed the

attitudes of 501 CIOs and IT directors across Europe, focusing on 25 local corporations.
The research, conducted by Coleman Parkes Research on behalf of HP, confirms a very high adoption rate for virtualisation across Europe with 56% of European CIOs stating that they have adopted virtualisation and 21% saying that they have plans to adopt it.
While adoption rates are high, the results indicate that virtualisation is still seen as a solution to reduce costs and to respond to data volume and data centre pressure
points with 55% of CIOs regarding virtualisation as a technology and not a business tool.
In South Africa the main decision driver by far that would compel a company to initiate a move to virtualisation would be reduced operational costs – mentioned by 60% of companies. The only other driver, mentioned by more than half of all companies interviewed, was reduced space requirements.
56% of all companies and a relatively low 33% in South Africa have already implemented virtualisation, while 21% overall; encouragingly, 40% in South Africa are looking to implement the technology in the near future.
"There is no doubt that CIOs are seeing some of the benefits of virtualisation.  However, the focus on cost reduction indicates that many organisations are not harnessing the full power of virtualisation. Investing in long-term strategic management policies and governance processes is urgently needed to translate short-term return on investment into long term business benefits. We believe that it's time to rethink virtualisation in business terms and invest in long-term strategic management policies and governance processes to realise long-term business benefits," says Oliver Fortuin, MD of HP SA.
Key findings from SA as a whole are as follows:
* The small number of companies that have implemented or are planning to implement virtualisation have only just started to really use the technology it would appear. 40% are focusing on server- far fewer than all of the other countries – and 47% on storage. Around one fifth is also focusing on clients but many have yet to decide on what they will do
* Companies in South Africa think that it is fairly important to change the way a company manages the IT infrastructure in a virtual world and also that it retrains its staff and redefines the IT administrative processes
* The majority of companies in South Africa see virtualisation as a business tool – far more than for the rest of the survey – and at the same time the majority also see it as a strategy as opposed to a tactic
* South African companies expect to see a return on investment from virtualisation in 25.5 months on average compared to 18.9 months for the entire population of the survey. This is one of the longer return on investment timeframes recorded
* By 2011 South African companies expect only 46% of the IT environment to be virtual compared with 49% for all companies