Every year seems to be the year of virtualization. Every year, industry pundits predict that this will be the year when most organizations will finally adopt server, PC, operating systems or application virtualization in a major way. Solution providers have known the benefits virtualization brings to companies of all sizes in terms of efficiency, computing power, optimization and ROI.

Well, it’s safe to say we finally crossed the chasm. A recent Cisco Systems (CSCO) FlexPod study of IT managers, directors and CIOs in small to midsize businesses revealed that 77 percent of all respondents said they already have some sort of virtualization technology in place. Even further, 71 percent of these said they expect to allocate more budgeted dollars for virtualization to the tune of 20 percent.

This is good news for solution providers because no organization goes completely virtual out of the gate. It’s a step-by-step process based on successes. So as they see their technology investments pay off, companies are more willing to port over more of their IT functions such as applications and operating systems to a virtual computing environment.

Of the companies that have embraced virtualization technology, 91 percent said the implementation has provided them with a competitive advantage over those without it, according to the study. A whopping 96 percent said they were already gaining a competitive edge.

The main benefit of virtualization is an immediate impact on efficiency and cost reduction, according to 95 percent of those surveyed. Meanwhile, 61 percent of respondents said improved system scalability was the number one benefit of virtualization.

Currently larger, enterprise companies have been more the early virtualization adopters because they have the budgets and IT resources, but that leaves more growth opportunity in the small to midsize market for solution providers. In fact, larger companies are making virtualization more of a priority, with 80 percent of firms with 100 to 500 employees saying they have funds in their IT budget dedicated to virtualization, according to the study. This is compares to just 50 percent of firms with fewer than 100 employees reporting they have funds dedicated to virtualization.

Digging further into the research, upper and middle management seemed to be divided on the benefits of virtualization. In fact, 70 percent of upper management noted virtualization has made a significant impact on efficiency and cost savings. This compares with only 45 percent of middle managers who believe this. This, again is a unique opportunities for solution providers to educate these middle managers on virtualization benefits.

In summary, virtualization adoption has finally made its way into the majority of most organizations. As these successes continue, solution providers will have even more opportunity to move their customers to a fully virtualized environment.

Knock 'em alive!