When an application that hasn't been certified to run on virtual servers encounters technical issues that prevent it from working properly, a user can be left in a bind if none of the involved parties -- the virtualization or operating system vendors, or the ISV -- is willing to step up and fix the problem.
Such situations can result in "a lot of finger-pointing, which is what the user really wants to get around," said Christopher Voce, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
The support issue hasn't come to the fore yet because early virtualization adopters have mostly been large enterprises with sufficient clout to demand personalized help from reluctant software vendors, said IDC analyst Michelle Bailey. "The basic message is, 'Either support me or I'll find some other ISV that will -- or maybe I'll go open-source,'" Bailey said.
But she added that as virtualization software trickles down to smaller and less cutting-edge companies, those users "will be more conservative in their approach and will be looking for compliance [from vendors] upfront."