Server virtualisation plans have stalled in recent months because of the economic downturn, but there are signs of recovery, according to research firm IDC.
IDC believes the market is poised for the start of a significant infrastructure refresh cycle and virtualisation will be a key technology to meet demand for more dynamic and converged infrastructure.
The IDC research shows that 16.5% of all new servers shipped in the second quarter of 2009 were virtualised, which represents an increase from 14.5% in the second quarter of 2008.
Although virtualisation increased, the number of physical servers sold dropped 21% compared with the previous year as businesses continue to limit spending.
The research showed that worldwide virtualisation software revenue declined 18.7% to $344m, compared with the same period last year.
VMware continues to hold the number one (VMware ESX) and number two (VMware Server) virtualisation platforms, despite revenues declining 22%, compared with same period last year.
Microsoft virtualisation license shipments declined 16% year-on-year, due to continued depreciation of Virtual Server 2005.
The Citrix XenServer showed the largest increase, growing 108%, due to the company changing its business model, the report said.
Matt Eastwood, group vice-president of enterprise platforms at IDC, said there are signs that stability is beginning to take hold in the worldwide server market.
"The worldwide server installed base has aged significantly and virtual machine densities on these systems have increased sharply over the past year," he said.