With Virtualization comes the potential to reduce costs and enhance productivity, realising savings across server count, carbon footprint, power consumption and cooling requirements. Whether a CIO is looking to go-green-for-green’s-sake, enhance brand image or improve competitiveness, Virtualization is an attractive proposition.
At its core, Virtualization enables organisations to make the most efficient use of available system resources by consolidating applications onto fewer physical servers. As demands in data centre infrastructure change, or in response to traffic spikes, physical resources that aren’t immediately required are automatically turned off, enabling a more efficient, environmentally-friendly use of resources.
To execute a successful Virtualization deployment, CIOs must first be clear about what they wish to achieve and determine if the technology is a good fit for the business. Within any organisation, disruptive or revolutionary initiatives have the highest chance of failure. By approaching Virtualization as a step-by-step evolution, organisations can boost their success rate.
Moving to a virtual environment
Virtualization is becoming a commodity, and should be treated accordingly. As the market matures, CIOs are becoming more savvy and waking up to the potentials and limitations of the technology and what can be expected from a vendor. It is a vendor’s responsibility to offer guidance on best practice and organisations should not be afraid to ask tough questions and demand answers.
Determining what percentage of an organisation’s workload can realistically be virtualised is a good first step. We seldom see organisations immediately migrate the majority of workloads to a virtual environment; instead it is common practice to start with less critical workloads, gain experience with the platform and then increase workloads to include mission-critical ones as well.
It is advisable for organisations to migrate further workloads once they are confident with the platform and support offered by a vendor.
Rather than view Virtualization as a standalone project, organisations should have a deeper look into the internal processes which might be impacted by adopting Virtualization technology. If not, customers might find that expected benefits of Virtualization, especially when it comes to improving IT agility, fail to become a reality. In other words, often the biggest hurdle to successful adoption of Virtualization is not the technology itself, but the processes that surround it.
Such processes include provisioning and change management. Each application involved might compete for computing resources and it is important for organisations to deploy software that grants greater visibility into the IT architecture to determine how applications are running. Greater visibility allows administrators to predict conflict and monitor performance to ensure critical applications receive priority and performance levels are met.