7 half-truths about virtualization

Here are seven -- oh, let's call them half-truths -- to fully consider before your virtualization project is implemented

Virtualization is revolutionizing the data center, mostly for the better. But no technology is without potential pitfalls. Problems related to management, security, ROI and power use can all trip up a virtualization deployment that isn't planned properly.

"Virtualization has the potential to deliver immense cost savings and technical benefits," through the consolidation of servers and reduction of space and power needs, notes Laura DiDio, lead analyst with Information Technology Intelligence. "However, these savings don't automatically happen."

Here are seven -- oh, let's call them half-truths -- to fully consider before your virtualization project is implemented.

1. Virtualization will make my life easier

Virtualizing servers will greatly reduce the time it takes to spin up new workloads. Some IT shops have reported being able to deploy new virtual machines (VM) in as little as 30 minutes, as opposed weeks for their physical counterparts. The promise that virtualization simplifies IT is real in many respects.

But virtualization simultaneously introduces management challenges that can't be ignored. IT shops need strict policies and perhaps third-party automation tools to prevent virtual server sprawl, the unchecked spread of VMs. Even if you end up with fewer physical servers, Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf says the overall number of managed objects can increase, because of the hypervisors and sheer number of VMs.

Many users assume administrative time will be lessened, but in reality the virtual infrastructure itself has to be managed and may require a new centralized storage system, says Martijn Lohmeijer, managing consultant with TriNext, an IT outsourcing and consulting firm.

Frustratingly, many software vendors don't offer the same levels of support for applications running in VMs as they do for applications running on bare metal. Microsoft eased up on some licensing restrictions last year, but analysts are still criticizing Oracle  and other vendors for restrictive policies related to support in virtualized environments. The calculation of software licensing fees can also be more complicated in a virtual data center.

"Not all server virtualization licenses are the same," DiDio says. "You have to really study the terms and conditions of your licensing contracts from the various vendors."

2. Consolidating onto fewer servers will be simple

The first goal of a server virtualization project is often consolidation. If you can run the same number of workloads on 10 servers that you were running on 100, why not consolidate as fast as possible? Unfortunately, many IT shops that plan to consolidate end up doing so much slower than they expect, says George Pradel, director of strategic alliances for virtualization management vendor Vizioncore. It's easy to say "every new workload has to go on a virtual machine," but moving old workloads from a physical box to a virtual one is not always a simple task, he says.

"Doing P-to-Vs, or physical to virtual conversions, there's a black art to it if you will," Pradel says. The conversions "don't happen in a vacuum. That happens in conjunction with different business units' schedules and the ability to withstand downtime."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags virtualisation

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?