The ability of virtualisation to bring benefits to an organisation was questioned this week after a majority of IT managers quizzed at Interop admitted that they had experienced problems with the technology and didn't always realise cost benefits.

Network Instruments polled 120 network managers, engineers and IT executives at Interop to learn how IT organisations are putting server and desktop virtualisation technology to use. Fifty-five percent said they virtualised mission-critical servers, including email and web servers, and another 50 percent said they run DNS and DHCP servers on virtual machines. And nearly 40 percent have already extended virtualisation to their desktop environments.

However, 55 percent admitted to the network analysis vendor that they experienced more problems than benefits with the technology, while the remaining 45 percent said they had realised the benefits of virtualisation. Among the problems were a lack of visibility and tools to troubleshoot performance problems in virtual environments for 27 percent of respondents. More than one-fourth of those polled at Interop cited a lack of training on virtual infrastructure, and 21 percent expressed concern over an inability to secure the infrastructure.

For nearly 60 percent, the primary problem with virtualisation was a lack of experience to appropriately manage the technology, and nearly 50 percent said that technology implementation costs were too high, according to Network Instruments.

Managing the technology doesn't seem to have become less challenging for network managers. Last year, nearly 40 percent of 117 network managers polled at Interop also listed virtualisation as the emerging technology that represents the "greatest monitoring challenges," according to a joint survey conducted by Network Instruments and NetQoS.

"Not surprisingly, a high number of companies have deployed critical network services on virtual machines," said Charles Thompson, product manager at Network Instruments. "The number of organisations without appropriate monitoring tools, however, definitely caught my attention. Without proper tools, application performance can unnecessarily degrade and network teams waste hours troubleshooting."