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IT infrastructure have a number of deployment options, depending on the level of ownership and control they wish to retain over the server, storage and networking resources involved, and the data processed by these IT resources. The most conservative approach is to house and manage the IT infrastructure in organization’s own data center, running whatever workloads are currently suitable for deployment on a private cloud platform.
Many companies — startups and small businesses, for example — won’t want the expense and hassle of running their own data center. Over the past decade, many companies worldwide have embraced virtualization. Yet despite overwhelming evidence that moving workloads from physical servers to a virtualized environment drives down costs, increases IT efficiencies, and improves application availability, skeptics remain. Some say implementing virtualization poses too much risk to service-level agreements (SLAs). Others claim it is too costly and time-consuming.
The following information brief explores some of the most commonly expressed concerns about virtualization – to help you distinguish fact from fiction.
MYTH #1: Implementing virtualization is too risky and will cause downtime.
Facts: Virtualized apps actually deliver better SLAs than physical ones. Research shows that best performers definitely achieve higher availability from their virtual deployments. Average uptime for virtual environments is 99.5 percent, compared with average uptime for physical environments of 99.3 percent.
With this statistic in mind, a proper virtualization implementation can actually help you avoid unplanned downtime rather than cause it. Health monitors can detect hardware and OS failures and application performance issues, which trigger alerts or automated failover processes. A running virtualized application can then be moved from one physical server to another – without downtime – providing better real- time failover, data protection, and availability than physical server deployments.
“Virtualization can accelerate resource provisioning time by 50 to 70 percent.”
MYTH #2: Virtualization requires more staff time to implement and manage than a physical environment.
Facts: Implementing virtualization boosts both productivity and efficiency. Because less hardware needs to be maintained, resource provisioning time can be accelerated by 50 to 70 percent and downtime can be reduced. The time and resources saved by virtualization will far outweigh the relatively short time it takes to implement a solution.
MYTH #3: Making the shift to virtualization is too time-consuming.
Facts: In most cases, implementing virtualization can be done relatively quickly. Implementation typically takes anywhere from a few days to a month, depending on project scope. For example, the timeline for one customer’s virtualization expansion project to improve disaster recovery was only one month. In addition, the ROI for these implementations is usually significant. In one study, customers reduced their server TCO by 74 percent on average and realized an ROI of over 300 percent within the first six months of deploying virtualization software.
“Server consolidation can save more than $3,000 per year in hardware, operating, and energy costs – for each virtualized server workload.”
MYTH #4: Virtualization is too expensive.
Facts: The reality is that investing in a virtualization solution can provide immediate savings. Server consolidation can reduce hardware and operating costs by as much as 50 percent and energy costs by as much as 80 percent, saving more than $3,000 per year for each virtualized server workload. Furthermore, future server sprawl can be avoided, saving on additional capital investments and operational expenses.
MYTH #5: Virtualization requires specialized skills and expertise.
Facts: Planning and implementing a virtualization project does not require specialized skills or experience, but does require some guidance. Successful implementations of virtualization and cloud infrastructure share important attributes: fast and easy access to a pool of knowledgeable support professionals and extensive self-help resources. Organizations should choose a trusted IT services provider and partner who can offer dedicated support teams to guide them through implementation and expansion. In addition, top virtualization vendors offer tutorial videos and free, self-paced in-depth instruction, as well as special classes and certifications for every experience level, from beginner to expert.
MYTH #6: Virtualization should be part of the operating system.
Facts: OS vendors would have you believe they are in the best position to virtualize workloads because their OS is already running on the built-in system software. However, today’s large, multi-gigabyte, general- purpose operating systems cannot match the performance and security of purpose-built virtualization software. Purpose-built virtualization solutions are optimized for dynamic virtual environments and eliminate the risk of frequent reboots, “Patch Tuesdays”, crashes, and viruses from your infrastructure. Complete virtualization solutions can also speed business response times from several weeks to a few hours, as well as reduce downtime and maximize energy efficiencies.
MYTH #7: Any systems software can manage a virtual environment.
Facts: Legacy systems management software was designed for physical servers. These products typically require several agents to be installed inside each virtual machine – creating an administrative burden and increasing the consumption of valuable resources. By contrast, operational management tools built specifically for virtual environments provide insight into performance, resource utilization, and potential risks. These solutions can adapt to the dynamic characteristics of virtual environments to optimize performance, minimize risks, and maximize resource utilization.
MYTH #8: Virtualizing business-critical applications will significantly impact their performance.
Facts: Hundreds of thousands of organizations globally have virtualized a significant portion of their business- critical applications, including databases, ERP systems, email servers, and industry-specific solutions. Most importantly, these companies have not experienced negative impacts to application performance, as validated by a recent study. Confio, a third-party company, compared virtual and physical servers in a side-by-side test, and found performance to be the same as the DBA. Combined with the reduced downtime advantages and improved availability of a virtualized environment, virtualized apps can actually deliver better SLAs than physical ones. Because of these types of findings, application infrastructure administrators and CIOs have begun to understand that the value of virtualization extends far beyond basic consolidation, and that applications benefit from virtualization – with faster time-to-market and improved Quality of Service (QoS).
IT organizations that manage high levels of complexity in their IT infrastructures require a sophisticated set of capabilities to diagnose and prevent application slowdowns caused by the infrastructure, especially during consolidation or migration. Complexity is driven by the heterogeneity of storage subsystems, host bus adapters (HBAs), operating systems, fabric switches, virtualization platforms, multi-site replication, storage virtualization, and the continued 50% annual growth of data and bandwidth utilization.
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