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Virtualization and Growth

IT has always been about hitting that sweet spot between computing demand and the available resources

Virtualization doesn’t mean that the data center doesn’t continue to grow. This is counter-intuitive, perhaps; after all, virtualization is supposed to condense many physical servers into a single one running many virtual servers. To be sure, virtualization does reduce physical servers given a zero-growth model. But how many companies today have a zero-growth model when it comes to their computing needs? In many organizations, increased computing needs means that virtualization slows data center growth enough that they can keep up, but it certainly doesn’t stop it.

Balancing demand and resources
IT has always been about hitting that sweet spot between computing demand and the available resources. Virtualization alleviates some of that demand, but it also raises some serious questions.

For example, being able to handle the demand from a number of different VMS spread around fewer physical servers creates specific issues. Without enough attention to a physical server, performance can suffer greatly. You can wind up with a scenario where an overloaded physical server crashes, bringing down not only the offending VM but every other VM hosted on that server, as well.

The key in maintaining this balance is to use constant testing, evaluation, and monitoring processes on your VMs. Determine accurately what resources a new VM might need, and place that VM in an environment where those resources are going to be available readily.

Hardware concerns
The main limitations of a physical server are still in CPU, I/O and memory. Each new generation of server offers more in these areas, of course. The challenge, however, at the acquisition phase is to make sure that the new hardware has the kind of interoperability with the management platform in question, and with the other hardware involved.

The good news here is that increased virtualization has led to more cooperation among hardware vendors, bringing about compatibility and interoperability on a scale we’ve rarely seen before.

Evolving workflow
As a data center grows, new workflow needs to kick in. How business units are charged for virtual machine resources has to be adjusted. You can’t charge a business unit 100 percent of a physical server cost on a server where 30 VMs exist.

That said, you need to find ways to implement policies that control how business units request resources. Otherwise you wind up with a bloat situation where you’re seeing more expansion of the data center than what’s really necessary.

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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.