Re: Savings from virtualisation ..
The immediate cost savings of going virtual are supposed to be generated from a reduction in hardware, cooling overhead, maintenance contracts, skilled headcount, licensing exposure etc
The not so easy to see savings should come from using templates and automation to provision systems quickly and consistently. Reducing the 'wait time' from the customer point of view and reducing the likelihood of human error during provisioning which results in spending man hours fixing things.
Most people seem to think you throw in some virtual hosts, do some P2V and then your done. Going virtual is a long term 'journey' that should include improving your efficiency by focusing resources on making improvements rather than low value tasks.
On the cloud front, I disagree that it over-hyped for many reasons. The benefits of cloud hosting are very real, they are just lost in a see of conflicting vendor marketing strategies.
If you focus on the technology alone. Work out the capex costs of provisioning an enterprise class on-premise virtual platform that matches the performance, availability and geo-redundant data protection offered by cloud providers like Amazon, Azure, Rackspace etc This is an extremely large investment with a very long ROI, many companies never manage the ROI that the vendor touts to get in the door.
The cloud based model of pay-as-you-go has a very low up front cost and a very quick ROI. For the bean counters this provides more control and better visibility of what your spending on.
In the end, its up to 'the business' to decide what's the best model for them.