Latest Posts

Latest Comments


What to virtualise?


Posted by |

Server virtualisation saves money and power, but taking the plunge without due consideration could have unwanted effects, including increased licensing fees and degraded performance. Not all servers and applications are fit for virtualisation, and I shall attempt to explain the difference between a good and a bad candidate within this blog post.

A poor virtualisation candidate is one that is a drain on resources. Whether it ‘eats’ too much memory with too many CPU cycles, or the storage platform’s performance requirements are too large, these applications or servers will affect the performance of other resources sharing the server. Many data centres have monitoring tools that will keep track of CPU usage and performance of storage platforms, and will notify you of any causes for concern, but it is worth considering such factors before you attempt to virtualise.

Intellectual property barriers can also pose an issue where virtualisation is concerned. While these issues are becoming fewer as Cloud storage solutions sky-rocket in popularity, it may be the case that the software’s license does not allow it to be virtualised, perhaps because the vendor is unsure of its capability in a virtual environment, but sometimes because it simply won’t function in the Cloud. And it is important to heed the advice of the vendor, always. They have the power to cut off your support if you are found to be in breach of the license.

Some applications may have specialised hardware provisions, in that controllers or unexpected hooks are embedded into the software, which will not run effectively outside of the IT department. This problem is most often seen in CAD and other graphics programmes, and is worth bearing in mind when attempting to virtualise similar applications.

And finally, before virtualising, it is important to future-proof your solution. Again, some applications or servers may here not pass muster in terms of their virtualisation candidacy. Virtual servers are not ‘infinite’ and IT directors must plan for what will happen if the application runs out of capacity. Similarly, the risk profile of the server will change once virtualised, and this must be properly assessed before the solution is implemented. A good managed service provider will here come into their own, with proactive monitoring and notification procedures, but a lesser-provider may not be as vigilant; businesses would be well-advised to factor this into their planning.

For most, virtualisation still proves to be a cost-effective and operationally beneficial solution. However, proper planning must take place prior to the action. A methodically planned virtualisation solution will reap countless benefits for your business. But as highlighted above, it is important to understand what to virtualise and what not to virtualise, before making decisions which could affect business productivity.



Post a comment

Comment submitted! Comments needs approval before being displayed.