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E-Guide: Maximizing the Benefits of Your Server Virtualization Deployment
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E-Guide: Maximizing the Benefits of Your Server Virtualization Deployment

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By now many IT shops have realized at least some of the benefits that server virtualization can bring to organizations of all sizes. While making the decision to deploy or expand a virtual environment …

By now many IT shops have realized at least some of the benefits that server virtualization can bring to organizations of all sizes. While making the decision to deploy or expand a virtual environment is a step in the right direction, with careful planning and a little extra analysis you can often gain even greater return than you may have originally anticipated on your virtualization investment. In this e-guide from SearchServerVirtualization.com, gain expert insight on how to approach a virtualization project to ensure maximum success. Understand what challenges you can anticipate and pitfalls to avoid. Plus, find out how to evaluate costs associated with virtualization and which areas can deliver the best advantages.

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  • 1. E-GuideMaximizing the benefits of yourserver virtualization deploymentBy now many IT shops have realized at least some of the benefits thatserver virtualization can bring to organizations of all sizes. Whilemaking the decision to deploy or expand a virtual environment is astep in the right direction, with careful planning and a little extraanalysis you can often gain even greater return than you may haveoriginally anticipated on your virtualization investment. In this e-guidefrom SearchServerVirtualization.com, gain expert insight on how toapproach a virtualization project to ensure maximum success.Understand what challenges you can anticipate and pitfalls to avoid.Plus, find out how to evaluate costs associated with virtualization andwhich areas can deliver the best advantages. Sponsored By:
  • 2. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deployment E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deployment Table of Contents Opportunity cost: Thinking outside the virtual box Four ways to reap the benefits of virtualization through budgeting Resources from Dell, Inc. and IntelSponsored By: Page 2 of 9
  • 3. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentOpportunity cost: Thinking outside the virtual boxBy Mark Vaughn, SearchServerVirtualization.comIn my graduate studies, one business term stood out more than any other. It has changedhow I view business, technology, even life.Any time you confront two or more mutually exclusive options, you must decide whichopportunity to take advantage of and which to pass up. The value of the option not taken isconsidered the "opportunity cost" of that decision.Opportunity cost is a key to decision making and a concept of which a good manager shouldalways be mindful. In fact, everyone could use a better awareness of opportunity cost andhow it plays into strategic decision making -- even when it comes to virtualization.Opportunity cost and the road not takenLets assume you have an application running on an old server with four processors, and thelease is coming up for renewal. The application could run on a new, smaller server with justtwo processors. There is a nominal fee to buy out the lease on the old server, but youcontinue to pay maintenance on four licenses. And the aging hardware is more prone tofailure as time goes on.New hardware brings with it a new lease, but it can reduce your software maintenance feesand will be more reliable. Which option is more attractive? Do you see the third option?Opportunities are not always obvious, but their costs are real. There is an opportunity todouble the instances of this application without purchasing additional licenses. This routecould provide increased capacity and possibly even deliver high availability or disasterrecovery functionality. Using smaller servers, the cost of two new servers may not be muchmore than the cost of one old server. And with leases, you may even end up reducing yourrun rate on the hardware.Sponsored By: Page 3 of 9
  • 4. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentAdd value with new opportunitiesI have seen organizations default to option one, adopting the "If it isnt broken, dont fix it"strategy. I have also seen organizations default to option two and always renew leases tothe more modern, standard server.Ongoing support is usually a small fraction of the cost for a new license. Failing to renewtwo licenses could have had a large financial penalty should the business need to increasecapacity in the future.To make IT really add value to your business, you need to look for new opportunities. Byfocusing on these hardware and licensing decisions, you miss the potential business value ofthe third option.Know your customers, know your purpose and seek out new opportunities. Everyopportunity that you miss has a value.Sponsored By: Page 4 of 9
  • 5. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentFour ways to reap the benefits of virtualizationthrough budgetingBy Rob McShinsky, Contributor, SearchServerVirtualization.comOne of the main benefits of virtualization is the cost savings. In a virtualized infrastructure,you save on the physical servers, data center space and power and cooling costs associatedwith a physical infrastructure. All these virtualization cost savings are real. But as the sayinggoes, nothing in life is free.Even in a virtual infrastructure, you must establish a budget for new purchases, ongoingsupport and software licensing costs. You may have to make compromises to get the bestprice and performance fit for your environment. To fully reap the benefits of virtualization,there are four important factors to consider: choice of hypervisor, software licensing,hardware and training.Choosing the right hypervisorA hypervisor is the foundation of a virtual infrastructure. Choosing the right one is the firststep toward realizing the benefits of virtualization.Some hypervisors are free, and others cost many thousands of dollars. The size of yourdeployment, the desired features and the software you’ll need to support the infrastructurewill all affect the total cost. If your goal is to create a test environment, or if you’re a smallbusiness owner, for example, you might not need redundancy or other advanced features.That can be a source of significant savings.VMware hypervisors are often a better fit for Linux distributions, but if your workloads aremostly Windows-based, Hyper-V may be a better fit. Also, consider each vendor’s strengthof support.Sponsored By: Page 5 of 9
  • 6. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentSoftware licensing decisionsIn terms of reaping the benefits of virtualization, software licensing issues may be a moreimportant factor than your choice of hypervisor. Software licensing affects the management,protection and monitoring of all your virtual machines (VMs), and hypervisor vendors seesoftware licensing as the major revenue generator of server virtualization.VMware vCenter, Citrix XenCenter and Microsoft System Center offer all-encompassing toolsets for your virtual infrastructure, or you can pick and choose products for specificmanagement and backup tasks. There are also many third-party vendors in the servervirtualization market. VMware has the largest base of third-party vendors, but support forother platforms is increasing.Here are a few other software licensing considerations that can bring virtualization costsavings:Beware products licensed by the socket, as opposed to those licensed by the CPU core. CPUcores multiply with every new generation of processor. If licensing is based on cores,upgrades to more powerful hardware could increase costs unexpectedly. • Ask for multiyear, locked-in prices. This software licensing method helps you budget accurately as your infrastructure expands. • Ask for a support package to be thrown in. Hypervisor vendors know that once you’re fully vested in their product and your infrastructure has grown, it’s tricky to migrate to a competing vendor. Use this bargaining power to demand a support package. • Ask for a back-out clause, which allows you to return the product if it doesn’t meet your expectations after a period of time. The time frame for “backing out” is usually about three to six months after a contract is signed. A contract with the vendor should define what the product provides, and what you as a user expect from it. Be wary of a vendor unwilling to put these expectations in writing.Sponsored By: Page 6 of 9
  • 7. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentChoosing the right hardwareWhen it comes to benefits of virtualization, the decrease in hardware is a big one. Yourhypervisor and supporting software choices may affect which hardware you purchase, basedon vendor compatibility and other issues.Virtualization is a shared-infrastructure technology, so cheaper is not always better. Yourgoal should be to gather enough resources in your hosts, network and disk subsystem tomeet future needs. The resources you choose for your hardware infrastructure have a directeffect on your VM-to-host ratio. When it comes to server consolidation -- one of the majorbenefits of virtualization -- this consolidation ratio is key.Luckily, you can fairly accurately assess your hardware needs by determining how much aVM costs per slot. Lately I’ve seen between 25 and 35 VMs on a system with two quad-coreCPU, 64 GB-96 GB of RAM, and 4G B fiber channel attached SAN drives. If a pair ofclustered hosts cost $22,000, network ports cost an average of $150 per port, Fiber portscost $200 per port, pro-rated costs of a SAN are $10 per GB and backup infrastructure costs$1600, the VM-per-slot cost is about $1,000 to $1,400. You can even use this directbudgeting number to develop a chargeback model.But also remember to be flexible. When server virtualization is done right, it bringsincredible virtualization cost savings, but adjusting to new costs is critical. New serverpurchases will decrease dramatically as a result of server virtualization. But as theenvironment matures and more important production workloads become the standard,storage and networking purchases may begin to increase, because of the more centralizeddisk-resource requirements. Also, you never know when you’ll need more backup capacity.The cost of knowledgeDespite the many benefits of virtualization, the reality is that server virtualization adds awhole new layer of software knowledge. You could put your organization at great risk if thevirtualized infrastructure isn’t architected correctly or doesn’t have the correct recoverymechanisms.Sponsored By: Page 7 of 9
  • 8. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentIf your staff has only limited training with management products, virtualization could end upcosting you more money. Proper training (and sometimes outside consulting) is critical inthe early stages. Personnel costs are often one of the first areas eyed for cuts whenlicensing and hardware costs start to rise, but you should fight to keep these costs in thebudget.Once your organization has made virtualization a standard, continue looking for ways torefine costs by reexamining vendors, hardware and procedures. Be aware that costs mayshift between departments as the server platform evolves. A well-planned budget will helpyou adjust to these changes.Sponsored By: Page 8 of 9
  • 9. SearchServerVirtualiation.com E-Guide Maximizing the benefits of your server virtualization deploymentResources from Dell, Inc. and IntelCreating a Business Case for Virtualization in the SMB Data CenterA Guide for Building Productive, Collaboration Environments in SMBsSimplifying the SMB IT Experience - Dell Expands Data Center OptionsAbout Dell, Inc. and IntelDell and Intel are strategic partners in delivering innovative hardware solutions to solveyour most challenging IT problems. Together we are delivering virtualization optimizedsolutions to maximize the benefits of any virtualization project.Sponsored By: Page 9 of 9