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Is Virtualization Overrated?

overratedJust because a given technology gets all of the press in the CIO magazines doesn’t mean that it’s right for your company. In fact, many of the solutions held so dear by the IT press machine are really little more than the outcome of an effective marketing effort from one tech company or another. Sometimes, they get it right, and sometimes they completely miss the mark. In other cases, it isn’t so cut and dried.

Take, for example, the issue of virtualization. For a couple of years now, two topics have dominated talk when it comes to the future of IT: virtualization and cloud computing. These twin cutting-edge technologies are imagined to be the ultimate investment for IT departments.

Cutting through the hype can be a challenge. While virtualization does have some wonderful potential, it may not be everything your CIO’s magazine says that it is.

Here are some important considerations to make as you move toward a more virtualized environment:

•    Virtualized servers don’t always have better reliability or availability. In spite of what your virtualization vendor tells you, there is an upside and a downside to virtualized environments. Yes, you can easily restart an application during an outage. However, virtualization also reduces the number of points of failure for your organization. Virtualization efforts need to be combined with sufficient failover and management efforts in order to be truly effective.

•    Virtualized applications can see a performance degradation. While most virtualization solutions do have provisioning and performance tools, the fact of the matter is that the closer you get to full utilization, the greater the risk that performance will degrade. Minimizing that degradation is key to any effective virtualization implementation.

•    Virtualization doesn’t always save money. Most of the time, virtualization solutions will lower your TCO. However, you also need to realize that some of the savings often relate to your IT staffing levels. If you can’t effectively reduce some of those costs, virtualization may not save you much.

•    Not every organization is ready. There are both technical and organizational issues that need to be dealt with if you’re going to move to a virtualized environment. If application owners aren’t on board, for example, you may face a significant roadblock to your virtualization efforts.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.