Analyst firm Gartner expects upwards of 60 percent of server workloads to be virtualized within the next five years.
The Stamford, Conn.-based analyst firm on Thursday released a new report that estimates the total server and desktop virtualization market will grow this year by 43 percent to reach $2.7 billion, up from the total market in 2008 of $1.9 billion.
The growth is only starting, said Alan Dayley, research director at Gartner.
Dayley estimated that by 2013, approximately 60 percent of server workloads will be virtualized and sitting on top of 10 percent of the total number of physical servers sold then. At that time, he said the average host server will be configured with between 10 and 11 virtual servers.
This compares to about 12 percent of server workloads virtualized on about 2 percent of physical servers in 2008, Dayley said. He also estimated that about 4 percent of physical servers will have virtual server workloads in 2009.
By 2013, between 10 percent and 15 percent of enterprise PCs will be virtualized, Dayley said.
Gartner divides the virtualization business into three markets.
The market for virtual desktop PCs, which Gartner calls hosted virtual desktops or HVDs, is expected to hit $298.6 million in 2009, or over triple the $74.1 million value of the market in 2008, Dayley said.
Revenue from server virtualization management software is expected to hit $1.3 billion in 2009, up about 42 percent over the $913.9 million revenue estimated for 2008, he said.
Server virtualization infrastructure revenue is expected to reach $1.1 billion in 2009, up about 22.5 percent over the $917 million estimated for 2008, he said.
VMware, which currently has over 90 percent of the server virtualization software market, is still expected to be the market leader over the next five years, but will face growing pressure from Microsoft, Dayley said.
"By 2013, we're not sure whether Microsoft will pass VMware yet, but it will be pressing on VMware," he said. "Some say it will be close, others say VMware will still have double the market share of Microsoft. It depends on whom you talk to. But there will be a lot of pressure from Microsoft."