Software CEO: Virtualization can 'fund the future'

Friday - 8/19/2011, 9:40am EDT

By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Federal agency technology managers have been using a variety of methods to save their IT spending dollars.

Paul Maritz, the CEO of software maker VMware, who spoke at a recent user conference hosted by the Defense Information Systems, shared his philosophy for greater IT efficiency: virtualization.

The main theme of his talk at the conference surrounded a "common challege" for both industry and government," he said. That is, about two-thirds of IT spending is going toward "things that are essentially just keeping the existing trains running," he said, "as opposed to really investing in things that are going to allow for real value to be achieved in the future."

The key is to find ways at becoming more efficient day-to-day operations and using that money to "fund the future," he added.

Virtualization — Maritz described it as "a way of taking existing application and wrapping them up in a figurative black box that allows you to replace the infrastructure underneath and modernize without disturbing the applications" — offers just that solution, he said.

The technique can often even bypass the old adage of "spending money to save money."

"Virtualization is actually a very cost-effective thing to do," Maritz said. "It is comparatively modest in outlay because you're not having to buy any new hardware. You're able to use your existing hardware more efficiently."

Most companies can pay for the necessary investments fairly quickly, he added, sometimes in as little as a year.

"So in the current funding climate, where we're going to have to get creative about where do savings can be done in a very practical way and have immediate effects, this technology is going to be very, very important in the federal space."

In the broader industries, virtualization is a "very well adopted technique," Maritz said. "More than 50 percent of the survey applications in the broader industry have now been virtualized," he said. Compare that with the less than 20 percent that has been adopted in the federal government, he added.

"So, there's a huge untapped opportunity for the federal government," he said.