Captured Technology

How To Implement A Virtualization Strategy

Dec 03 2010

Virtualization Strategy

If you’re looking to implement a virtualization strategy the first thing you need to identify is what you’re realistically looking to achieve from it. One of the more common reasons an organization might look into moving to a virtualized platform is to improve business efficiencies and make sure they’re really utilizing their existing IT. Another factor to influence this decision might be you want to improve your time to market or your overall turnaround time. Once you’ve identified why you need a virtualization strategy you’ll be able to derive whether it’s for business purposes or whether it’s for IT purposes.

When implemented correctly virtualization can benefit all areas of the business, from reducing IT costs to ownership costs and energy to hardware costs. If your organization is struggling with server sprawl executing virtualization technology could prove very beneficial. If you are adopting a virtualization strategy for technical reasons you need to start with a thorough audit. Make a note of what you already have and what you’re actually using. Make a note of things like you storage, your networks, any applications you’re using and list all you interdependencies,  once you know exactly what you’re already using you’ll have a good starting point when it comes to building your strategy.

A common concern many organizations have in executing a virtualization strategy is that it will make several of your IT professionals redundant. This is not the case, all the skills and the knowledge your organization has when it comes to the software you’re using will still be in demand in a virtualized environment. It’s just the physical hardware that’s been abstracted and you’ll probably find you end up developing new skills to assist with this abstraction.  The same applies for any of the applications or tools you’re currently using. They are not going to be lost as the vast majority will transfer over to the virtualized environment without any problem.

You will find that in a virtualized environment internal communication will be essential. Previously you may have found each department was able to keep to themselves and didn’t really interact, but in a virtualization strategy this isn’t practical. It’s vital everyone is able to communicate how well the strategy is working as this will ensure any kinks are worked out early on rather than at the later stages.

A virtualization strategy will not be practical for all businesses. If you’re still running monolithic or single threaded applications you’ll struggle to virtualize them. Virtualizing large databases or any applications you’ve written yourself would also not be beneficial for a virtualization strategy. You’ll also need to consider just how much you’re looking to virtualize. If you’ve got anything less than eight to ten servers you might not see the benefits that someone with fifteen plus servers would see from a virtualization strategy.

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 Steve Patterson
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