The balance between the number of applications on physical machines and virtual machines tilted to virtual in 2009, says Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, the software house that has been largely responsible for the shift.
Quoting IDC figures, Maritz said there were more than 10 million applications running on virtual x86 machines around the world, and the number was growing at 28% a year.
This shift was driven by enterprises' need to cut costs over the past three years. It was likely to continue but to change emphasis from optimising hardware to optimising software, he said.
VMware's chief marketing officer Rick Jackson estimated that 20% to 30% of datacentres were virtualised. The next step was to virtualise production systems such as Oracle, SAP, Exchange and others, to get them closer to a pay-as-you-go model.
"The strongest value proposition for virtualisation is IT as a service," he told the VMworld 2010 audience in Copenhagen. This would bring greater agility and flexibility in meeting business changes, allowing IT to respond on demand.
"This is about optimising IT production for business consumption," he said.