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7 Tips for Starting Your Virtualization Strategy

By now, many companies have embraced virtualization as a way to control IT capital costs, increase efficiency, and make better use of IT resources. Still, some haven’t made that leap, and others have only dabbled. If you find yourself feeling behind the times when it comes to virtualization, here are some tips to get you started on the right road:

1.    Start small. IT staff can start very small – even on the desktop. For example, setting up a virtual desktop on your local system to test application compatibility issues with VirtualBox or a similar technology can give you a feel for how virtualization can work.

2.    Set up a lab. Retired servers make great practice specimens for virtualization. The key is to make sure you pump them full of RAM and give them gigabit network cards.

3.    Implement shared storage. Shared storage is necessary for virtualization, but it’s useful outside that context, too. Shared storage will give you a peek into this important aspect of virtualization.

4.    Profile your existing infrastructure. If you want to virtualize, you need to start by knowing what exactly you have in production. Identify what can be virtualized and what cannot. There are a number of capacity-planning tools out there that can help you through this process.

5.    Carefully choose what to move first. Most organizations will benefit from a step-by-step move to virtualized environments. Start small, and with systems that aren’t business-critical. This gives you plenty of opportunity to make mistakes, before it matters the most.

6.    Monitory the transition process. Once you start to virtualize, make sure you’re watching performance on several levels, including storage, physical host, and virtual server. Watch those load leveling functions of your servers to make sure they’re working right. Make sure those resource forecasts you have are accurate, and if not find ways to adjust before they become a problem.

7.    Calculate and tout the benefits. There are a number of real-world numbers that you can use to show why virtualization was a good idea. From utilization to TCO calculations, use these numbers to demonstrate the benefit of virtualization and to make the case for moving forward with virtualization strategies.

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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.