11 February 2011 George J. Weiss, Andrew Butler
Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00210438
Nearly 50% of respondents to a poll at a recent Gartner Data Center Conference implemented, or are in the process of implementing, fabric computing, driven by one significant aspect of virtualization.
Fabric computing is a fixture on the radar screen of many IT groups, driven by the increased penetration of virtualization and prospects for cloud computing.
As virtualization penetration increases, IT organizations will deploy virtual machine (VM) mobility, which will demand more attention to a fabric-based infrastructure that better integrates server, storage and networking for greater agility and faster time to deploy.
What You Need to Know
Fabric can offer a number of advantages, such as improved time to deployment, and greater efficiencies and resource utilization in the data center. Nevertheless, the adoption rate will be relatively low through 2011, because of ROI benefits that are still relatively unproven across a wide field of use cases. Vendors are initially positioning their fabric computing offerings as data center solutions — presenting a high overall entry cost due to new blade systems, software for fabric resource management, and integration services to bind servers, networks and storage — potentially into new silos. Combined with the slow economic recovery, Gartner believes that the market share of servers associated with fabric architectures will be relatively slow to ramp up (with a modest 4.4% of total server shipments by 2015), but will continue throughout the decade. As a model, this penetration mirrors the experience of blade servers throughout its decade-long climb to prominence.