What the buzz is about: Virtualization and Consolidation

I know everyone has been hearing this continuously for the last 3 years or so, but what does it actually mean?  How does it help the IT department and how does that help the business?  While the two words of Virtualization and Consolidation are separate topics, they often go hand in hand.  I believe the reason for this are to take advantage of new hardware capabilities and new virtualization technologies.  Lets say you bought a new server and wanted to consolidate and migrate all the data from your file server and your mail server.  You’ll essentially end up with a server with more utilization.  Sure, you’ll save a little on time and the electric bill, but that isn’t going to give you the “WOW” factor when it comes to analyzing your ROI. You’ll soon realize that consolidation usually will not fully utilize the full capabilities of your new hardware.  Unlike oil and water, implementation of Virtualization creates a symbiotic relationship with Consolidation.  One could also say it’s the catalyst to a higher ROI.

Why is there a push now?

  • 64-bit operating systems allow for a significant increase in memory
  • Multi-core CPUs creates effective use of processing power
  • VT-enabled CPUs support virtualization specific instruction sets which increase the effectiveness of hardware.
  • Microsoft is now in the market, which usually means it’s growing and here to stay.

Summary of benefits of Consolidation and Virtualization:

  • Lower TCO (power and cooling requirements, less physical assets, reduce time and resources need by IT staff, reduce licensing requirements)
  • Increased flexibility (backups, snapshots, migration, quicker provisioning of new servers)
  • Space savings
  • Makes use of the full capabilities of your new hardware
  • You already have the capabilities, you just need to implement it.
  • Fail-overs can be performed practically instantaneously
  • Upgrades to a new server in the future is greatly simplified
  • It’s much easier  to make  the  resulting  infrastructure resilient  for  business  recovery  and  continuity  solutions

When will you know it’s “GO TIME”?

  • You are trying to cut costs
  • You are trying to increase performance
  • You will be purchasing a new server
  • You spend too much time focused on maintenance
  • You are implementing a software “refresh”
  • Your servers have multiplied to where you have a management problem
  • You need IT to work projects that drive the business
  • Your backup solution is inefficient and ineffective
  • You have a need for a development environment