Retail banks on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly turning to virtualisation technologies to centralise deployment and management of IT resources, cut costs and save energy, according to research commissioned by Microsoft.
The KRC Research survey of 100 technology decision makers at UK and US retail banks found 58% are already implementing virtualisation across multiple aspects of their IT infrastructures.
Virtualisation - isolating or unbinding one computing resource from another - is normally applied within data centres and servers.
However, Microsoft says the technology is increasingly being applied across other areas of bank IT infrastructure, with 61% of respondents using it for application, 54% for networking, 48% for machine operating systems and 27% for presentation.
Of those implementing virtualisation, 53% say it makes it easier to centralise deployment and manage applications. The same number cite cost savings, while 51% say it makes it easier to respond to issues such as failures of applications or systems.
Other factors driving implementation are saving space (46%), security (46%) and saving energy (34%).
Among those currently using virtualisation, 95% use it in regional or national headquarters, such as in data centres, while 53% use it within branch offices. Around a third of those planning to use virtualisation say they will "definitely or probably" use it in branches.
"Banks realise the impact virtualisation can have on operations, from the data centre to the desktop, and how it should be embraced as part of an enterprisewide infrastructure strategy," says Rich Feldmann, managing director, US financial services group, Microsoft. "Virtualisation helps create the foundation for innovative banking applications and channels by producing an agile infrastructure."
It's a space that Microsoft has been keen to break into, with traditional software licensing deals expected to take a hit as more applications are pulled off the network.