Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf shared some good advice about
consolidating servers with virtualization in our recent interview. Here are some quick tips gleaned from our conversation and some more-info links and questions for you about these topics.
Making a pitch
Make these key points when pitching server consolidation via virtualization to upper management:
- Virtualization is a means to running fewer physical servers and, thusly, consumer less power in the data center.
- With fewer physical servers, hardware maintenance and upkeep costs go down.
- Virtualization increases server availability via dynamic failover enacted at the virtual machine level. So, any application oncan support high availability, and that is a big difference with virtualization compared to traditional clustering solutions.
(Have you made this pitch? What did you say? What were the results? Let me know in the comments below or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Converting multi-purpose servers to VMs
Watch out. This is tricky territory, says Wolf.
“When I have multi-purpose servers, I generally want to take each application or service on that server that I need and run it as its own VM instance. So, in those cases, you are better off manually reprovisioning those services as separate virtual machines again; because in a dynamic failover environment, the VM itself is the point of failover. So, if I have a multi-purpose server, if I am looking at failover, every application on that server is going to be off-line for the period of the failover. If I have a single application per virtual machine, if the VM fails over now, only a single application would be down.”
(Wolf talks more about this process in the interview. Has anyone out there tackled multi-purpose server-to-virtualization conversions? If so, please share your experiences with me at email@example.com.)
Physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration
There are several approaches, says Wolf. Some common practices that work in small environments — such as manually staging a VM and migrating the data and relying on a backup product to help with the migration — are not a good fit for larger data center environments. When migrating many servers, use a product designed for that job to do do a hot clone of a virtual machine.
“Not only does it let me move each VM in a live state, I can schedule when the VMs get converted so I can do a conversion during off-business hours.”
More P2V info can be found here:
Got other good P2V links or advice? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.