Posted: May 7, 2009 11:13 AM
Updated: May 7, 2009 11:13 AM
From the Editors of IT Business Insider
Virtualization is the topic du jour among IT professionals. As CIOs continue to search for more efficient - and cost-effective - ways to manage the data center, the promise of being able to do more with fewer resources is spurring a large proportion of enterprises to test the virtualization waters.
Server virtualization is defined as a technology that allows you to transform a physical computing resource into a logical one. The technology can be implemented as a single physical machine that operates like multiple servers, or multiple servers that appear as a single machine. Either way, it promises significant benefits, among them better hardware utilization, improved load balancing, more flexible provisioning, lower power consumption and reduced data center personnel costs.
"Virtualization allows organizations to better utilize their resources, as well as have the ability to respond quickly and agilely to changing business needs," says Barb Goldworm, president and chief analyst at Focus Consulting, a Boulder, Colo.-based research firm specializing in systems and storage. "It's a very powerful technology."
But as is often the case with new technologies, the reality may not live up to the promise. (article continues)
The Right Steps to Real Results
How can you maximize your chances of getting the results you want? Before implementing the technology, there are critical factors to take into account. The top five actions include:
Carefully evaluate the functionality and pricing offered by each vendor. "With so many new players jumping into the market, it pays to take a step back and understand which virtualization platforms make the most sense for your specific needs," says Tony Iams, senior analyst with consulting firm Ideas International in Rye Brook, N.Y. Maturity and the functional capabilities of these products are obviously vital issues, but price is important, too. "Many of these less-established firms are pricing their products extremely aggressively, and you might not need all the functionality offered by the more expensive offerings," he says. Provide your data center staff with adequate training and professional support. These are brand-new concepts that require brand-new skills from your data center personnel. Although in theory employee productivity should improve, workers will need time-and sufficient training-to get up to speed. And, adds Haff, "you may well decide to hire consultants to help develop your in-house skill sets." Motivate users to adapt swiftly to the new computing model. Your users may resist the idea of losing control of the physical servers formerly dedicated to their applications or worry about sharing capacity resources with other departments or lines of business. In such cases, passing on the often-considerable savings that your data center reaps from virtualization can be a strong motivation for users to embrace the new technology. "If you're using a charge-back model, cut your users' costs proportionally with how much money you're saving," says Goldworm.
The bottom line: "It's too early to give a recipe for success" in the fast-changing virtualization field, says Iams. "But the cost savings, increased efficiency and increased agility are proving very attractive."
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