IndustryWeek readership poll indicates little current or future interest

Manufacturing plant operations may be virtualization technology’s final frontier. Fewer than one in five manufacturing companies currently run production applications such as SCADA, MES, Historian, Batch or OPC  in virtual environments, and only seven percent say they plan to do so in the next twelve months, according to a recent readership survey conducted by IndustryWeek magazine for Stratus Technologies.

Virtualization use in manufacturing IT systems is far behind the technology’s penetration in IT infrastructures generally, where one in five companies runs 80 percent of all applications on virtual machines, and one in two companies has virtualized 40 percent of all applications. (1)

More than 500 IndustryWeek readers responded to the “Manufacturer IT Applications Survey,” representing a broad range of company sizes and products produced. The magazine tabulated results by annual revenue categories – less than $100 million, $100-$999 million and above $1 billion – and by the average of all respondents. Results were as follows:

[1] International Data Corporation, “Worldwide Enterprise Server, 2012 Top Predictions,” January 2012        (IDC #232823)

Do you currently run any of the following (6) systems in a virtualized environment?

All respondents

>$1billion

$100-999 million

<$100 million

 Yes

18%

31%

17%

12%

No/no answer

82%

69%

83%

88%

Do you plan to put any of your manufacturing systems in virtualized environment in the next 12 months?
 Yes

7%

9%

8%

6%

No/unsure/no answer

92%

91%

92%

94%

 

Source: “Manufacturer IT Applications Study,” March 2012, IndustryWeek magazine

Pinellas County (FL) Utilities, which manages water and waste water systems for five million residents and annual visitors, made the jump to virtualization two years ago. “I can foresee a time when the SCADA operation runs entirely on virtual machines and three fault-tolerant servers,” said Ken Osborne, SCADA supervisor, about his current eight-server infrastructure. “That option didn’t exist a decade ago. Our decisions then proved to be the right ones in every regard and today we’re smarter about our virtualization strategy because of it.”

The full survey results were presented during a webinar hosted by IndustryWeek on May 31, 2012. Featured speakers included NetSuite’s GM of Manufacturing/Wholesale & Distribution, Roman Bukary, and Stratus’ Director of Global Alliances, Peter Cook, who offered insights into what manufacturers are currently experiencing with regard to downtime, as well as some best practices to prevent it.