Thomas Bittman is a well-known Gartner analyst. We were looking at some findings Bittman reported earlier this fall that are more relevant now as more companies seek to extend its data centers to public cloud infrastructures. We've seen this trend pick up momentum in the past month so it is worth reviewing again what the numbers say about the market.

According to Bittman:

Virtual machine penetration has increased 50% in the last year. Gartner believes that nearly 30% of all workloads running on x86 architecture servers are now running on virtual machines.

For the first time midsized companies have deeper virtualization penetration than companies in the Global 1,000. That means a new market is opening up for extended cloud environments and managed cloud services.

Bittman says "private clouds," are all the buzz. Groan. Anyway, his point is right on:

"Every major vendor on the planet who sells infrastructure stuff has a private cloud story today. In the last year, the marketing, product announcements and acquisitions have been mind-numbing. Some of this is clearly cloudwashing ("old stuff, new name"), but we've seen a number of smart start-ups captured by big vendors, and important product rollouts (notably VMware's vCloud Director). Now the question is - what will the market buy?"

Major infrastructure providers are shifting to virtual machine formats. Bittman's last point is reflective of a big shift:

"IaaS (infrastructure as a service) providers have focused on open source and internal technologies to deliver solutions at the lowest possible cost. But that's changing. In the past year, there's been a rapidly growing trend for IaaS providers to add support for major commercial VM formats - especially VMware, but also Hyper-V and XenServer. The reason? To create an easy on-ramp for enterprises. As enteprises virtualize (and in many cases, build private clouds), the IaaS providers know that they need to make interoperability, hybrid, overdrafting, migration as easy as possible. The question is whether that will require commercial offerings (such as VMware's vCloud Datacenter Services, or Microsoft Dynamic Datacenter Alliance), or if conversion tools will be good enough. I tend to think that service providers better make the off-premises experience as identical to the on-premises experience as possible - and I'm not sure conversion will get them there."

Bittman also says Microsoft's Hyper-V is under performing. Bittman wonders is this is due to Microsoft's poor migration offerings? What do you think?

Virtualization is moving to the cloud. It will be a major theme in 2011. But the next question is how it will happen and what services companies will use to make the transition.