Which virtual applications do I really need?

Virtualization platforms
Virtualization software
At this point, are there any enterprise applications that are undeniably bad candidates for virtualization?

Answer Wiki

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My immediate response is a hesitant “yes”:

Typically, you do not want to put a storage- or network I/O-intense application within the VM environment, because your VM software will already require some overhead of the physical devices from a management perspective. But if that VM is the only VM on the physical host with a ton of memory and several processors, does it matter? Probably not. Do the intrinsic benefits of VMs — that is, the software from a recoverability and portability of the server/application point of view — outweigh that, and fit into the overall disaster recovery (DR) strategy? Yes, absolutely.

If you have to have a machine that is in a target/source situation because it is in your DR pool/rotation, the slight performance hit of virtualization software on top of the hardware may be a worthwhile tradeoff in light of the benefits gained from virtualization.

Good luck,

James Geis
Forsythe Solutions Group


I would have to agree, there are definitely Enterprise Applications which aren’t great for virtualization.

Exchange, SQL, Oracle, SAP, SAS to name a few. This isn’t to say that there are not cases where these apps couldn’t be virtualized, but one should be very careful about doing so.

This blog post should also give you some more good info. It’s based around SQL Server, but if SQL isn’t your application of choice just replace SQL Server with whatever high end application you are looking at.


Great answers. Actually, we just posted a new tip over at SearchVMware.com that discusses how, if you’re upgrading to Exchange Server 2008, it can actually be a great time to virtualize Exchange-assuming your hardware, etc. meets certain requirements. You also have to be careful about service agreements (i.e. Microsoft won’t officially support virtualizing Exchange with VMware ESX 3.5, but our writer notes that when you make a support call, Microsoft reps generally don’t ask such detailed questions about your environment). He also said that if you’re going to virtualize Exchange, you want to do it on Windows Server 2008, as upgrading an OS after virtualizing Exchange is apparently very tricky. Worth a read: Upgrading Exchange Server? Migrate to ESX.

Hannah Drake
SearchVMware.com Associate Editor

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