Is 2008 the Year of Virtualization? Those of you who believe that the growing virtualization trend is merely a passing fad, think again. According to a new study by Saugatuck Technology Inc., virtualization will have the single largest effect on IT budgets for hardware and support over the next three years (cue Jamiroquai's 90's hit "Virtual Insanity"). Read on to discover the other virtual truths uncovered by this report. The report, entitled The Many Faces of Virtualization – Understanding a New IT Reality, finds that through 2010, the vendors Cisco, VMware, and Citrix (previously XenSource ) will dominate IT virtualization, accounting for 60 percent of all new virtualization deployments. Server virtualization will have the largest impact on budgets for IT hardware and support, while the second largest impact will be network virtualization. Another important finding of the study is that all facets of IT virtualization will see substantial enhancements in functionality and performance, with the most significant enhancements being in microprocessors, hypervisors and operating systems. The report notes that the general concept of virtualization is usually equated with the specifics of server virtualization, since server and mainframe virtualization have been used in the IT world for decades. But it’s important to note that virtualization can be applied to all IT resources, including servers, storage, networks, and desktops. The background to the report is Saugatuck's claim that "virtualization is a key enabler of IT and business efficiency, but it is vastly misunderstood and underestimated within user enterprises. As a result, user executives fail to effectively manage it, and therefore fail to realize the full potential and benefits of IT virtualization. And IT vendors seldom realize the breadth and depth of opportunity that IT virtualization presents to them". We've seen a lot of action in the virtualization field this past year, from Citrix's acquisition of XenSource to SWSoft's release of the first virtualization solution designed for Apple hardware. This report confirms the creeping notion that virtualization is not only here to stay, but may be a defining element of IT for the next several years. The full 20 page report, which provides an explanation of the ever-evolving topology of IT virtualization in its various forms, is available at Saugatuck's website for US $795.