A survey of 257 of the UK’s top IT managers has shown that virtualisation and data security are top areas of focus for end 2010 and throughout 2011. The survey was carried out by IP EXPO 2010. Of the professionals surveyed, 88% rated data security as a key objective and spending priority for the coming year. This was closely followed by virtualisation which was identified as a priority among 85.8% of respondents.

The survey demonstrates the strength of the IT managers’ desire to adopt virtualisation but also their reservations about the security of the technology and its ability to protect the sensitive data their companies hold. 57% of professionals surveyed believe that the roll-out of virtualisation & cloud based technologies will need to wait until security guarantees can be demonstrated.

However this should not be seen as bad news for providers of virtualisation solutions. Only 3% of respondents believe that security issues will entirely stop their business from adopting virtualisation. 80% of respondents believe that virtualisation will require a revision of enterprise security tools and procedures but 81% believe that as a result virtualisation could in fact offer the opportunity to improve their business’s overall data security.

Adam Malik, Content Director for Imago Techmedia, said: “The data security issues surrounding virtualisation are something the entire IT industry is coming together to address. The priority is to make sure that this ground breaking technology can meet the needs of companies of all sizes as well as some of the UK’s highest risk legal and financial companies.”

Lionel Wilson, IS Director of the Woodland Trust, said: “We have now virtualised almost all of the Woodland Trust’s server estate as it offers new ways for us to meet challenges of improving hardware utilisation and drive down costs whilst also reducing our environmental impact and significant reduction in energy use on these new systems by over 90%. This has been made possible through Microsoft Windows 2008 R2, Hyper-V and Dell’s Blade architecture.

“Rather than paying for and running many under-utilised server machines, each dedicated to a specific workload, server virtualisation has allowed us to rationalise the workload onto a smaller number of more fully-used machines. This necessitates fewer people to manage those computers, less space to house them, and fewer kilowatt hours of power to run them, all of which saves money. Additionally the implementation of Remote Desktop Services over Sunray has allowed us to considerably reduce power use on our clients by over 95% whilst also improving user availability and experience.”