Software sales may have taken a hit during the global economic slowdown, but BMC Software ( BMC) says that virtualization and cloud computing will provide plenty of upside during the coming months. "Enterprises are looking for a single platform to manage physical environments, virtual environments and cloud environments," BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp told TheStreet.com. "It needs to be inside of a single umbrella management environment; otherwise you really have some chaos." Speaking after BMC's recent analyst day, Beauchamp called this a gilt-edged opportunity for his firm, which reports its first-quarter results next month. BMC, which touts a slew of software for managing data center gear, recently clinched a deal to package its software with Cisco's ( CSCO) much-hyped UCS device. "What we sell has become very, very important -- it's driving cost out long-term," said Beauchamp, explaining that the virtual world, in particular, brings both benefits and challenges. Virtualization, which lets users divide physical hardware into multiple "virtual" chunks, is becoming more popular among those looking to juggle several operating systems and applications. The technology also is one way that budget-minded firms can reduce the amount of hardware within their data centers. For sure, users can now quickly deploy many more "virtual" than physical servers, but Beauchamp warns that this trend brings its own headaches. "You can get the utilization rates up significantly in your hardware platforms," he said. "But at the same time, the cost to manage a physical server, the administration of it, is the same, physical versus virtual."