As demand rises for IT managers and C-level executives to embrace virtualization, we thought it would be worthwhile to share our insights into adopting server virtualization.
The tips below are designed to help companies determine if server virtualization is right for them and how they should prepare to ensure a successful initial implementation.
Tip #1 - Make the business case for server virtualization
Before implementing server virtualization, IT executives should assess whether the technology will provide a reasonable return on investment. They should first take a look at how they are using servers today and ask themselves:
- Do they have common applications running on a number of different servers?
- Do they have enough servers that could and should be consolidated? Is the number of applications increasing and the capacity required for the applications continuing to expand?
- Do they expect the number of servers they have to buy each year to increase? If so, by how much?
- Is the business planning to undertake other large-scale technology implementations, and if so, how will this fit with a possible virtualization development?
In short, the IT department has to make a strong business case and justify the virtualization investment to ensure executive management support. To help conduct a quick assessment, ROI calculators are available from VMware and Marathon. Marathon also has a webinar available with John Humphreys, Program Vice President, Virtualization Software for IDC, "Making the Business Case for Server Virtualization," in which John provides essential guidance in making your business case.
Tip #2 - Consider the license and support implications
IT managers need investigate what, if any, impact virtualization will have on their application licenses and support. Depending on the application, the original licensing terms and conditions may no longer apply after the applications have been migrated to the virtualized environment. In addition, it may be that the providers of some of the software applications do not support virtualization systems, and are unwilling to offer technical support for the applications after the migration to a virtualized environment.
Tip #3 - Afford to spend the time to plan
As any IT professional knows, implementing a new system requires dedicated resources, budget and time. Industry experts have estimated that the planning stage constitutes 90 per cent of a virtualization implementation project. The actual migration is relatively simple to undertake provided that the implementation has been well-planned. Any system information to be migrated should be collated and backed-up up to six months before the start of the migration. IT managers should remember to assess how much hardware each virtual machine needs in order to operate efficiently. They also need to ensure that the number of virtual environments residing in a single hardware does not sprawl out of control - this could have serious consequences on the stability of the environment and application availability. A thorough implementation plan will help businesses minimize any hiccups that might arise.
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