NetApp has revealed that, for IT professional across Europe, servers (32%), storage (24%) and cost reductions (10.3%) were top on the list when it comes to what virtualisation evokes in people's minds.

For Andreas König, senior vice-president and GM of NetApp EMEA: "The fact that servers spring to mind first is natural in that server virtualisation sets the stage for how IT managers now design and implement IT solutions but it is only the half of the story. However, rank two for storage confirms the trend towards data storage as a key part
of the equation for a true virtualised environment."
Storage for virtual environments, however, needs to provide several capabilities. High availability (21.9%), performance (21.9%), disaster recovery (18.8%) and storage efficiency (17.7%) led the list.
"These should be core aspects in any virtualised environment," says König. "Businesses relying on virtual infrastructures must be sure that they can achieve business continuity in a fast and efficient way."
When it comes to improving storage efficiency in virtual environments, the survey revealed the two top contributing technologies to efficiency were deduplication (31,7%) and snapshot technology (26,3%).
"This does not come as surprise. Data deduplication is essential to improving storage efficiency and achieve major cost savings – and is even more compelling in virtual environments. It can provide data centres with astounding capacity savings of 50% or more of primary storage disk space, and up to 95% savings across backup and archive environments," comments Andreas König.
"Virtualisation means to do more with less. However, fewer machines without the appropriate level of data protection can put an environment at risk. Therefore, backup needs to be fast, and recovery of lost data or systems must happen quickly at a near-current point in time, both a clear vote for the snapshot technology. These are technologies that help customers win on the storage side of virtualisation."
Cost reduction (24,8%) and management flexibility (20,3%) were highlighted as top priorities in motivating companies to move to a virtual environment. "Both are intricately linked," continues König. "The aim of virtualisation is to maximise utilisation of resources while maintaining operational efficiency. The ability to provision storage for servers or desktops instantly, use and manage less storage, protect and recover data quickly are key contributing factors to flexible management and inevitably, cost savings."