Virtualization Pro

Mar 12 2009   9:10PM GMT

Visualizing a virtualization project

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

Today I finally bid farewall to a mountain of old server hardware that was the result of a virtualization project. Dozens of old physical servers have been sitting in an old storage room for over a year having all been replaced by just four new virtual hosts. These old servers served well in their day but were the victim of inefficiency typical of non-virtualized servers. A computer salvage company came and picked them all up to be shipped off to a computer graveyard, and as a result became the final chapter of this virtualization journey.

It’s amazing to see a data center before and after a virtualization project. My data center is full of empty server racks. Where 18 racks used to be filled with servers in the past, today only two racks are needed to hold what remains. The pile of old servers and an empty data center are strong visual evidence of how virtualization can dramatically change a data center environment.

When trying to make a case for a virtualization project, often times the higher-ups who make the decisions are just reading through business cases and studying ROI numbers. They may not have a strong grasp on what virtualization actually is and the additional many benefits that are sometimes not covered by business cases and ROI documents.

Therefore it is important to make them understand what it really is and its many benefits. Visual aids can help make a strong case for you, seeing before and after pictures from other companies that have virtualized their data centers or even visiting their data centers can have a dramatic impact and be of great aid in your quest to virtualize. Other visual aids like the following can be equally valuable:

  • Seeing a VM move while running from one host to another because of VMotion
  • Seeing VMs restarting automatically on other hosts when a hardware failure occurs because of HA
  • Seeing clusters automatically load-balancing themselves with VMware DRS
  • Seeing a NIC cable disconnected to simulate a NIC failure and causing no impact to the network connectivity of VMs because of vSwitch NIC failover

So when making a case for virtualization in your environment be sure and include as much visual evidence as possible. Doing so will make those who make the decisions understand what virtualization is truly about.

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