Virtualisation - the way forward

Organizations today face unique challenges that stem from regional expansion and globalization

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Virtualisation  - the way forward Organisations are facing challenges in the data centre
By Staff Writer Published  December 20, 2010

By Pappu Rao

Organizations today face unique challenges that stem from regional expansion and globalization. As a result, IT professionals find themselves catering to a geographically distributed workforce with scattered branch offices. Distributed datacenters and mobile workers have to be managed and servers need to be deployed on the fly across multiple locations to manage dynamic business needs.

A question of wasted capacity

The legacy model of "one application, one server" has led to servers ‘sprawling' and consuming available data centre space, power and cooling. However, at a global level, servers have an average utilization of five to fifteen percent, resulting in poor return on investment. Organizations have made significant investments in IT infrastructure, as every new requirement was translated into a new server purchase, hence adding associated costs and complexity, which in turn impacted effective manageability.

 The continued trend of investing in more processing power at lower price points has made a shift in how we view IT infrastructure costs. While hardware costs may have gone down, associated costs including software licensing, data center space, power and management overheads have actually risen. With the current focus of CIOs to do more with less, the total cost of ownership needs to be addressed.

Server consolidation, which essentially is reducing the server count, is the obvious solution. Virtualization is an effective way to achieve server consolidation by allowing multiple physical server workloads to run on a single virtualized hardware platform. Virtualization has the potential to unlock much of the underutilized capacity we see in datacenters today.

Introducing Virtualization

Virtualization addresses the problems of cost and complexity and at the same time provides the flexibility and speed needed to deploy infrastructure to meet the dynamic needs of today's business.

Gartner estimates that enterprises can achieve cost savings of as much as twenty to fifty percent on hardware and other overheads including software licensing, while enjoying increased flexibility along with speed, and improved quality of service. It must be noted that virtualization can actually reduce software licensing costs which are predominantly CPU-based, thereby reducing the overall total cost of ownership.

The technical advantages of virtualization are many: it allows for increased resource flexibility and improved utilization since the resources for a virtual machine can be scaled up or down or even scheduled based on workload requirements. Virtualization also allows servers to be available on-demand, providing flexibility in keeping them dormant and activating them based on dynamic requirements. This translates into significant savings in hardware resources and licensing costs.

In addition, Virtualization offers portability and recovery since a virtual machine can be copied from one server to another and even replicated from one location to another.  Another benefit is the ability to take a ‘snapshot' of a virtual machine which facilitates application upgrades or even the application of operating system patches and rollback if desired results are not achieved.

Virtualization is an ideal fit for addressing today's need for server consolidation. It also provides building blocks for the next steps including desktop virtualization and cloud computing.

The business case for Virtualization

Increasingly, businesses are turning to Virtualization as a means of cutting unnecessary costs and maximizing the return on investment. This is possible as virtualization lowers capital expenditure and optimizes operating expenses by reducing power, cooling, data centre and administrative costs.

Virtualization also helps lower risk to business by minimizing system downtime and associated business interruption, improves end-customer satisfaction levels through improved system performance and improves business agility by quickly deploying servers in response to market needs.

 In short, it makes perfect business sense.

To find out more about GBM's Virtualization offering, please contact your Client Manager to arrange an assessment of your current server environment and provide you a with a roadmap.

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