It must have been the excitement of the election that distracted me but I missed the IDC figures for server deployment in the last quarter of last year. The information that server sales showed a hefty rise in virtualised servers, with 18.2 percent of all new servers virtualised in 2009, an increase from 15.2 percent - this was however at a time when sales of servers were down.

There are several aspects of this figure that are noteworthy. For a start, the increase in sales was after a poor year, with both server sales and take-up of virtualisation licences down.

But the most noticeable aspect of the figures was the way that virtualisation has now penetrated the enterprise ethos in such a way that IDC is talking of a "virtualise first" mentality - that's to say that the interest in the technology has reached such a point that it's become almost mandatory to adopt it.

According to the survey, companies are going further than that however, and are looking to completely transform their enterprises.According to IDC's Matt Eastwood, this means a fundamentally new approach in the way that companies do business, moving well away from the more traditional approach.. "customers are quickly moving beyond the core hypervisor and focusing on mobility, self-provisioning, and metering chargeback capabilities." There's nothing radical about the the idea that the modern enterprise is being driven by the move to mobility but there are still very few enterprises that are genuinely moving to self-provisioning and genuine chargeback - although it's certainly true that there are such organisations. But, while the trend is there, I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to say that customers are "quickly" moving.

What's more interesting were the figures for individual vendors. Naturally, VMware dominates: ESX and VMware Server, holding first and second slots (albeit with a decline of 9 percent in the latter's case) .Microsoft's Hyper-V showed a growth rate of 215 percent (although this was starting from a low base) while Citrix's Xen Server showed a growth rate of 250 percent. Microsoft's Virtual Server is hanging on to third place but with a 29 percent decline, will not be there for much longer. Not that Microsoft is worried about that, it will be interesting to see what the figures are for next quarter. It should be said that Microsoft has been extremely bullish about its prospects for Hyper-V. After some time, one gets used to Microsoft hype, which dazzle so much that sometimes even genuine breakthroughs get treated with scepticism, but there does appear to be a real possibility of strong growth for Hyper-V.<

The IDC figures were a fascinating snapshot of what's really the server market. The coming year should be interesting: now that the recession is beginning to tail off, we should see some strong growth in server shipments,. we can expect to see virtualisation grow even further and the fight between VMware and Microsoft grow a little less one-sided, although still heavily dominated by VMware, of course. The arithmetic is certainly a lot clearer than the figures from the election and it's certainly a lot clearer to plot the future.

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