The challenges of implementing data centre technologies such as virtualisation and power consumption could outweigh the benefits, surveys have shown.

Separate studies found that IT executives and high-tech managers were concerned over their ability to both manage virtual operations and maintain the efficiencies virtualisation deployments promised to deliver.

Research results also showed that while companies sought ways to monitor and reduce power consumption in their data centres, doing so with their current tools was challenging and limited.

"Our survey confirms that businesses are indeed challenged most by the need to effectively manage the increased complexity in today's data centres, while at the same time keeping networks running smoothly and power consumption costs down," said Ben Grimes, Avocent CTO and vice president of corporate strategy, in a statement.

Avocent in April 2008 commissioned Actionable Research to survey nearly 300 executives and IT managers, and the company this week at VMworld shared the results. According to Avocent, 89 percent of companies polled currently used server virtualisation, most of which was in production. About one-third of those indicated their companies adopted virtualisation to reduce hardware costs, and another 32 percent said reducing power consumption motivated them to deploy virtual servers.

About 20 percent of respondents to Avocent's survey reported losing a virtual server location, and about one-quarter have experienced the disappearance of a virtual server from their system entirely.

The findings also showed that 45 percent of those polled were concerned about being able to get virtualisation skills in house, with about the same amount saying getting skilled IT staff in house is among the biggest data-centre headaches today. More than 42 percent indicated that change and configuration management ranked as a top concern, with another 40 percent saying infrastructure management caused concerns.

Another 44 percent worried about protecting virtual servers from failure.

When it comes to measuring power consumption, more than 80 percent found this capability valuable, and 55 percent of respondents said they measure power usage in their data centre, primarily at the UPS level.

Separately, EMC released at VMworld 2008 the results of a survey of 150 IT business professionals conducted on the company's behalf by the Enterprise Strategy Group. The results showed that less than one-quarter of respondents felt confident in maintaining service levels in virtual environments when using existing management tools.