Virtualization is an excellent way to more effectively utilize your hardware. Whether you are utilizing a public cloud or hosting infrastructure off-site via colocation, you can utilize virtualization programs such as VMWare and Citrix to enable producing dozens of virtual servers out of a single physical appliance. Since most applications can readily be handled by a single server, splitting up the machine virtually enables a more efficient use of resources.
Many companies utilize virtualization for the purpose of making old hardware new, though older hardware might not be as compatible with virtualization as newer equipment, and while it will work, there might be bottlenecks that can occur if you are not prepared. The true benefit of virtualization is in how resources are provisioned to assist companies in building an effective solution that is efficient, which in some cases may require utilizing a private cloud or procuring newer hard ware. This means taking the time to identify what areas work best for virtualization, and how the company can utilize the technology from the get go. This can be done by identifying applications currently in use, any that are planned to be launched, and if there are any servers required to load balance.
Of course, the best way to identify how virtualization can support the company is to utilize a dedicated server to achieve a proof of concept. This can be done by utilizing a machine with multiple cores (at least 4 is recommended, ideally 6 or 8 for good demo of what virtualization can do) and splitting up the machine to handle the expected work load to see what would happen in the companyâs production environment. A public cloud solution such as vnCloud can also be used to identify the resources required for such a project, especially since vnCloud can easily create cloned VMs that could replicate what would happen in the virtual environment.
Once a plan is in place and there is a general understanding of the required resources to use virtualization, it is time to get started. From here you would either repurpose hardware or procure new hardware to host the virtual environment, which can be done by procuring new hardware or if upfront costs are a concern leveraging a dedicated server. Common virtualization hypervisors (the host software for the virtual machines) include Citrix and VMWare - Citrix is typically considered the leader in hosting virtual desktops and VMWare the leader in hosting virtual servers, though both have solutions to handle virtual desktops and virtual servers. Once the hypervisor is installed (our dedicated servers can come with it pre-installed), IT can deploy virtual machines and your company can bear the fruits of the labors that have been born in identifying and testing virtualization.Testing the virtual environment and identifying what works and doesn't is key for a long-term project - some applications, usually older legacy applications, will not perform effectively in virtual environments because they were designed before virtualization was. If need be, there is nothing wrong with having a mixed environment of virtual machines and traditional infrastructure, but it is important to know what applications are best suited for the appropriate hardware, which needs to be investigated by IT.