Opinion: The heartburn and happiness of virtualization

Greater efficiency doesn't mean administrators are not encountering difficulties

Once you are virtualized, there is no going back -- and no one wants to. That was the consensus of IT administrators at this year's VMworld conference held in Las Vegas.

I asked IT administrators who are implementing virtualization in their environment if they had the opportunity to go back to a one physical server/one operating system environment, would they do it. The answer was an unequivocal no.

IT administrators are apparently willing to deal with the new management issues that virtualization creates. These issues include I/O performance bottlenecks, the inability to trace performance problems back to the source application and the headache of not knowing when other administrators create new virtual machines for very practical reasons. They can more economically and easily address more business requirements than they could prior to virtualization's introduction.

One IT administrator from Raytown Quality Schools in Raytown, Mo., told me that his school district had to migrate physical servers in its existing data center to a new site. Using only physical servers, he estimated that to make the move it was going to take eight weekends over two months. By creating a virtual environment at the new site and doing a physical to virtual migration, he completed the migration in only two days one weekend.

That does not mean these individuals are not encountering difficulties. The inability to scale VMware VirtualCenter was causing one administrator heartburn while another complained about the inability to scale beyond 40% utilization on a server hosting multiple VMs.

Every day more companies are seeing more of the benefits -- and challenges -- of virtualization. But it seems that whatever reservations companies still have about virtualization are being more than offset by the new cost-saving and efficiency benefits they realize.

Jerome Wendt is the president and lead analyst at DCIG Inc. You may read his blogs at www.dciginc.com

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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