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A new study from TechNavio and Infiniti Research demonstrates that server spending is experiencing a dramatic decline as the star of virtualization begins to rise. Infiniti pins the trend a direct repercussion of increasing virtualization deployment, which itself is driven in part by enterprise hopes to curb spending and operate in a manner more green. Not exactly a situation that calls for violins, is it?The association between virtualization and "green computing" isn't often discussed, but it's definitely there. Virtual servers require less space and manpower, and definitely suck less energy than its predecessors. Rahul Agarwal, who co-founded Infiniti and leads business development at TechNavio, observes that over the next five years, a reduction of five million servers would be roughly equivalent to pulling five million four wheel drives off the road. And because "green" is the new "black," there's definitely pressure to drive resources in virtualization's direction. Indeed, Stonebridge Bank in Pennsylvania was observed to have gone from 131 servers to an efficient 26. Agarwal also observed the following figures: * Data centers worldwide housed about 29 million servers in '06, growing at 15 percent a year since '00 * Server shipments grew 5.9 percent in '06 per research from IDC * Current analysis of server shipments and virtualization adoption levels sets the mark of growth to a sluggish 2 percent in '08 * '09 will witness a regular decline to reach 24.5 million by '14 Fortunately for the little guy, SMBs are going to be toting the competitive benefit here. They typically require less server power than their peers, and simply don't have as much to lose if they make the virtual transition early. "Our view is that to offset this volume pressure, hardware vendors will be forced to improve unit margins by building in virtualization capability, memory and I/O interfaces in the hardware," Agarwal concluded. "Our research also appears to indicate that some vendors may push thin client sales as desktop virtualization proliferates." He further admonishes hardware vendors to look at the server market as a value game, rather than a volume game. "[Hardware] vendors will [also] need to cooperate much more closely with software, services and networking vendors in order to meet client needs and win in the market," Agarwal surmised. Complete findings from the study will be released alongside the Storage Expo debut, which happens on October 17 in Olympia. In recent news, Windows Server '08 is going into development for year's end -- again without a virtual aspect. Meanwhilst, virtualization firms VMware and XenSource keep building interest among thirsty investors and companies seeking a pretty acquisition. Ah, well. You can lead a (bucking) horse to water... Got a view on this? Weigh in.