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Planning for Virtualization: 5 Considerations

When it comes to implementing new IT solutions, planning is critical.  Let’s face it – there are costs involved, and the fewer surprises, the better.  This is certainly true when it comes to virtualization.  The better you plan for it, and the more strategically you implement it, the better the results.

 

Ideally you’ll be working with a trusted IT advisor who can work with you throughout the virtualization process.  But to get you started, below are five elements to consider when planning a virtualization project.

 

  1. Which servers and applications can be virtualized?  The bad news is that not every server or application can or should be virtualized.  For example, servers that require special hardware or run resource-intensive applications aren’t good candidates for virtualization.  And some common applications just won’t run in a virtual environment.   The good news is that with a little forethought, you can figure out which applications and servers can work in a virtual environment. Good candidates for virtualization?  Older servers (to avoid upgrade costs or increases in  maintenance costs), multiprocessor servers dedicated to single-processor applications (enabling you to optimize resources), and infrequently used severs (so you can consolidate resources).
  2. How will your software be licensed in a virtual environment?  When you virtualize your systems, will you need new software licenses?  The answer will vary by software.  Find out in advance where you’ll need new licenses.
  3. What is the best virtualization platform for your business?  Each business has different requirements.  And with the amount of virtualization options on the market, the choices can be dizzying.  Work with a trusted IT advisor to determine the most cost-effective virtualization platform that will get the job done.
  4. Does your virtualization plan mitigate failure risk? Virtualization should reduce system risks.  But a poorly implemented virtualization plan can do just the opposite.  Server virtualization means that one physical machine can act as multiple virtual servers.  But what happens when that single machine goes down?The critical point is often the host server.  Contingency plans need to be in place should the host server fail, and the virtualized platform should be designed so that all your critical elements aren’t on the same host server.  In short, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  5. Are you overloading your host servers? Each host server can only realistically accommodate a certain number of guest machines.  While that number used to extend to 20 to 50 or even 100 virtual machines on a host, software and applications have become larger and more complex.  Now, industry experts say that 15 virtual servers per host is the likely maximum number, with most enterprises achieving a 6:1 ratio for data applications such as CRM, ERP, databases and e-mail.  It’s important to be realistic about host server capacity so you don’t overwhelm your systems.

 

Would you like to learn more?  Then download our eBook, Implementing Storage Virtualization: Elements of a Successful Project.

 

For information on the Hitachi/ConRes partnership, visit our Hitachi Partner page. If you’re considering a storage assessment, please contact your local ConRes IT Solutions office. Also, feel welcome to contact our Hitachi Team at HitachiTeam@conres.com.

 

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