Virtualisation greatly reduces the number of servers, space, power and cooling demands and ultimately enables agility, said Gartner.
"An agile datacentre will handle exceptions effectively, and learn from exceptions to improve standards and processes," said Tom Bittman, an analyst at Gartner.
"Agility will become a major business differentiator in a connected world. Business agility requires agility in the datacentre, which is difficult as many of the technologies for improving the intelligence and self-management of IT are very immature, but they will evolve over the next ten years," said Bittman.
Within the datacentre, agility should be measured in terms that make sense to the business, such as the time and cost to deploy new servers, to install new software or to fix a problem, said Gartner.
While the vast majority of large organisations have started to virtualise their servers, Gartner estimates that currently only 6% of the addressable market is penetrated by virtualisation, a figure set to rise to 11% by 2009.
But the number of virtualised machines deployed on servers is expected to grow from 1.2 million to 4 million in 2009, Gartner said.