PC Magazine's Michael J. Miller went to the the Society of Information Management's CIO Executive Leadership Summit last month and came back with these amazing facts:

A combination of virtualization, better hardware, and elimination of unnecessary applications helped Dell save $200 million out of a $1 billion IT budget this year, according to two of the company's senior managers. Paul D'Arcy, director of services marketing, said the savings were part of a larger transformation of IT, in which this year's budget went from being 94 percent focused on maintenance to only 54 percent, freeing up money for more strategic projects. He said new hardware was up to nine times more powerful as the machines it replaced; and this helped the company create 10,000 new virtual servers, while reducing the number of physical servers by 6,000 (out of an initial group of about 25,000 servers).

Want to be a hero in your organization? Try telling your boss you can save the company 20 percent of its IT budget. That's incredibly impressive, and it makes a very strong case for the increasingly trendy concept of virtualization at all levels of the enterprise.

If you want to get up to speed quickly, start with this primer and this video.  By the end of next year, everyone is going to be virtualizing everything. It's an evolution you can't afford to miss if you want your IT career to continue to prosper.

-- Don Willmott