News Column

Mid-market adopts 'virtualisation first' approach

July 14, 2014

Admire Moyo



Most server hardware available today has more capacity than that required for a single workload, says Ken Marsden, CTO at VMXperts.

For most mid-size organisations, "virtualisation first" is now the standard, as they look to deploy new server workloads on a virtual platform before considering a physical platform.

So says Ken Marsden, CTO at virtualisation solutions provider VMXperts (http://www.vmxperts.co.za/), who notes that enterprises moving from utilising server virtualisation in their IT infrastructure to controlling what is taking place in the virtual environment.

Server virtualisation (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/server_virtualization.html) is the partitioning of a physical server into smaller virtual servers to help maximise server resources.

In server virtualisation, the resources of the server itself are hidden, or masked, from users, and software is used to divide the physical server into multiple virtual environments, called virtual or private servers. This is in contrast to dedicating one server to a single application or task.

"Most server hardware available today has more capacity than that required for a single workload; therefore, the main benefit is that of optimal usage of the hardware. Other benefits include improved availability and easier backup and recovery," says Marsden.

Describing the virtualisation journey, Marsden revealed that most organisations start with consolidation. In this phase, organisations look to get better usage from the infrastructure by consolidating a number of workloads onto a single physical server.

The second phase is containment, and in this phase, the approach is to limit the growth of new infrastructure by ensuring that any new workloads will be provisioned onto current infrastructure wherever possible, he explains.

Availability is the third phase, says Marsden, pointing out that by making use of shared storage and provisioning additional capacity, the organisation will gain better availability of crucial line of business applications.

The fourth phase is automation. Due to the fact that most of the components in a virtual environment can be addressed through a software interface, it is simpler to implement automation tools to relieve the system administrators of performing repetitive tasks, he notes.

VMXperts sees virtualisation as a strategic catalyst that facilitates enterprise adoption, bringing about business alignment and optimising opportunities.

It is not just about technology though, it is also about influencing strategy and enabling the business in a competitive environment that, with virtualisation as a catalyst, will see the evolution of the enterprise infrastructure assisting IT in moving away from being a "support" structure to becoming a key centre of innovation promoting business growth and generating revenue, the company says.

Describing the challenges that organisations face when implementing server virtualisation, Marsden pointed to the complexity brought on by the requirements of shared storage, and visibility of the actual usage of the environment.

"There are numerous technologies being brought to market to assist with the complex storage issues, such as SSD/Flash storage, which is going to have a big impact within the next 12 months. Most hypervisor vendors are providing enhanced management tools to assist with capacity planning and enabling better visibility within the virtualised environment; however, these add additional costs to the solution," he says.


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Source: ITWeb


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