Virtualization and Virtualization Planning

“HOT TOPIC” – some considerations around Virtualization and Virtualization Planning

One of the hot topics in the IT industry today is “Virtualization” and “Virtualization Planning”. Although self explanatory to most IT professionals in the capacity management arena, virtualization is often not totally understood by senior and executive management within organizations. This short article will specifically look at what virtualization entails and shed some light on some of the misconceptions, issues and challenges surrounding virtualization. Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research has shown that 95% of organizations are deploying virtualization with server virtualization being the largest focus -with a growth of 20% amongst the research base. Although 79% of organizations have deployed virtualization in the test and development arenas, 74% have deployed virtualization for production purposes. The swing continues to where it is expected that there will be even more virtualization in the production arena than the test arena in the future.

Firstly let us understand what virtualization actually is and what it encompasses. Virtualization has been around in some form or another for decades. Face it, virtualization is here to stay and organizations who want to remain competitive and efficient need to embrace it. Although the most common form of virtualization is related to servers, it is not only restricted to servers – it is also applicable to storage, applications, networks and other IT assets. The best definition that I have seen for virtualization comes from an EMA paper written for BMC in April 2008. It states that “virtualization hides the physical characteristics of IT infrastructure resources from the way in which other systems, applications, or end users interact with those resources”. An example of this would be an organization with a number of different departments, each using their own server for internal processing. By Virtualizing the environment, all departmental processing will then be processed on a single server (footprint).

Virtualization planning is the process of planning the virtualization and in itself can often consume more effort and time than the actual virtualization itself. Stringent planning and analysis is critical to successful virtualization initiatives.

What are the benefits of virtualization?

Cost savings through reduced hardware expenditure (Many organizations see cost savings of at least 30- 35% per 1000 servers virtualized from a hardware perspective) Reduced TCO due to more effective use of IT resources Support of “Green” computing due to smaller footprints and reduced power and environmental consumption More flexibility in responding to changing business needs Reduced downtime and performance issues – if deployed properly.

What are the challenges associated with virtualization?

Increased complexity and management of the environment Ensuring that the virtualization is planned properly Combination of I/O sub-system loads needs to be considered Server overload Cultural resistance.

What are three of the major myths and facts associated with virtualization?

Virtualization means you can reduce the number of staff – false Virtualization does not totally eliminate downtime – true Virtualization can be done quickly – false

MentPro is well positioned to assist organizations with any aspects of virtualization or virtualization planning.

Over the next few articles we will be looking into other “Hot Topics” which are currently affecting the IT industry and organizations. Be sure to keep a look out on the web site for these snippet articles.

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