Top 10 tips for server and storage virtualisation

Server and Storage virtualisation often coincides with consolidation projects to reduce infrastructure and IT management costs. The underlying objective is to use IT infrastructure to its maximum, to improve performance and to introduce total flexibility as to when and where the business needs to have resources available.

If you are planning a project involving virtualisation the tips below will help you to reap the benefits of virtual services.

1. Identify your business need

In the current economic climate IT Director's are under increasing pressure to reduce operational costs while still ensuring that flexibility, service delivery levels, and business efficiency continue to improve. Considerable time, effort, and capital need to be invested to achieve this.

More and more businesses are turning to virtualisation services to maximise the return from their investment in computing systems, improve performance and to introduce total flexibility as to when and where the business needs to have resources available.

Virtualisation promises the opportunity for organisations of all sizes to deliver tangible business benefits.

2. Understand the benefits

When considering virtualisation, it's important to understand just how beneficial the features will be to your organisation.

Virtualisation offers the opportunity to:

  • Enable scalable and flexible solutions
  • Have more consistent and predictable operations
  • Improve utilisation of IT resources
  • Increase system availability
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Reduce the number of servers, storage arrays and other system devices
  • Respond faster to required business change

3. Be clear on what virtualisation encompasses

The underlying objective of virtualisation is to gain better utilisation of all system resources.

There are four main levels of virtualisation:

  • Server virtualisation
  • Storage virtualisation
  • Application virtualisation
  • Network virtualisation

4. Understand the benefits of Server Virtualisation

Server virtualisation offers you the opportunity to run multiple operating systems on a single physical server. It enables you to drastically reduce the number of physical servers in your organisation; and by sharing the processing power the costs of powering and monitoring multiple servers are reduced.

5. Understand the benefits of Storage Virtualisation

Storage virtualisation enables data to be deployed in a single pool of data, accessible by a virtualised server farm. The storage capacity is adjusted to meet actual demand at any given time. Proactively managed by the IT team, disk space can be fully utilised without wastage. You can access the storage you need on demand with this fully flexible service.

6. Understand the benefits of Application Virtualisation

Application virtualisation dramatically reduces the number of physical servers and desktop PCs in any organisation by enabling multiple applications to be run on a single machine, or a reduced number of servers, contained within a dedicated server farm. Applications share system resources such as operating system, memory and processing power, with workloads balanced to ensure optimum performance.

7. Understanding the benefits of Network Virtualisation

Network virtualisation uses technologies to deliver multiple discreet customer services across a shared platform. This enables you to get the most out of your resources by using a secure virtual network, that can deliver your services further, faster for less. Huge investments have been made in UK wide, high bandwidth networks, such as our MPLS network, enabling more customers better return on in investment in their networks.

8. Keeping your business fully operational

Virtualisation enables organisations to be better prepared for business continuity. The loss of a service, for any length of time can lead to loss of business or increased costs.

In a virtualised world, the application can be reassigned to another server on the same site or at a remote site and the information can be accessed immediately without loss of transactions; keeping systems continuously operational.

9. Improve Business Flexibility

Virtualisation allows you to get more from your infrastructure; replacing the rigid, high cost, high power consuming aspects of physical hardware, with the flexible, scalable and high availability properties of virtualisation.

Virtualisation provides a flexible platform for testing and development, with the easy deployment of extra virtual servers. It also enables you to respond faster to business change. Extra virtual servers can be easily added allowing businesses to grow and change without delay and extra resources are available when you need them, on demand.

Virtualisation is a truly flexible solution for any business.

10. Improve return on investment

The requirement for large capital investment in hardware, and the associated costs of cooling, powering and monitoring are removed.

There are no hidden costs, no nasty shocks. By paying only for the resources you use your IT costs are more predictable and greatly reduced as a whole.

Virtualisation allows you to do more with less, giving you the best return on investment in your IT infrastructure.