Why Virtualize?

I read recently that 50% of CIO’s couldn’t see any benefit in virtualizing. My initial reaction was less than flattering and then I realised it probably isn’t that they don’t like virtualization. They just don’t understand the long term benefits of virtualization.

The key thing virtualization does is remove dependence on physical hardware. Basically it allows you to change the underlying hardware without having to reinstall the operating system and applications that run on the hardware.

5 things virtualization can do to save you time and money:

  • Migrate to new hardware without a reinstall. Great if you lease hardware and want to replace it every 3 years because you simply move the Virtual Machines, no expensive reinstallation required.
  • Run more servers on less hardware and take advantage of the virtual OS entitlements e.g. Windows Server 2008 Enterprise allows 1 physical and 4 virtual servers or unlimited virtual servers with Data Centre edition.
  • Use server templates to cut server build time.
  • Do a physical to virtual migration of old servers so you can power them on in the future if needed.
  • Simplify your disaster recovery plans.

The ability to rapidly change the resources allocated to services, build a test environment, expand a web server farm or do an upgrade with a simple role back are other great reasons to consider virtualization.

Virtualization is a strategy decision and for many is quite a mind-shift. Many of the benefits will appeal to systems administrators, but if you want to convince the CIO you need to show how it will improve productivity, increase agility and lower costs.

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