In the UK, demand for virtual IT services has tipped over into the business mainstream, with nearly two-thirds of British organisations (61 per cent) either already investing in some form of virtual IT service, or planning to do so in the next year, according to a recent survey commissioned by Ciena and conducted by Opinion Matters. The independent blind study surveyed 252 UK IT decision makers across the IT & telecoms, finance, retail, healthcare, construction, manufacturing and utilities industries with a turnover of more than £2 million. What else did they uncover? In short, the virtualisation tipping point is here (and here’s why):

Financial benefits

Enterprises are clearly interested in applications that offer choice and performance at better cost points. Looking at cost, over half of businesses surveyed (52 per cent) are looking for total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits when moving to virtual platforms, and a similar number (54 per cent) consider moving from a capital expenditure (CapEx) to an operational expenditure (OpEx) to be highly important. This shift in customer expectations when buying or leasing technology services was further illustrated by the 54 per cent who are looking for more flexibility and scalable contract arrangements.

Of those surveyed, 80 per cent of respondents in the construction sector put the most focus on moving from a CapEx to an OpEx service model, saying it was a very important consideration when choosing a software-based virtualisation solution. 74 per cent of respondents in healthcare said the same.

Technological value

Network functions virtualisation (NFV) is ushering in a new era of innovation, bringing technological advances that pose new opportunities across a variety of sectors. Several key verticals are particularly keen to adopt virtual software services over the next year. Respondents from healthcare (52 per cent), IT and telecoms (49 per cent), financial services (47 per cent), and transportation (45 per cent) all responded positively in terms of their investment plans and strategic intentions for adopting virtualisation over the next 12 months.

When asked who they trust most to successfully deliver NFV solutions or virtualised IT applications, 56 per cent stated major software companies such as Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle, followed by their current service provider (37 per cent). Interestingly, those in healthcare were more trusting of the new breed of multi-tenant data centre services with 48 per cent of respondents looking to them for virtualised services.

A clear 93 per cent of all respondents preferred best-of-breed open/interoperable applications versus single vendor solutions, with construction putting the most emphasis on it with 70 per cent stating that it was very important.

Virtual opportunities

Deployment of virtual enterprise applications is taking off; businesses in all sectors are clearly seeing the opportunities for more flexible solutions that mimic the cloud consumption model. And, crucially, enterprises are increasingly aware that virtual services will be more cost effective. Network function virtualisation (NFV) allows service providers to respond with agile service offerings that can mirror both the economic benefits and user-experience of the cloud. The tipping point is here and for good reason.

Read more about the study in this Ciena press release.