Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Challenges of Virtual Infrastructure Deployment and Management

Almost every IT Manager is getting excited by the thought of virtualized IT infrastructure where he can manage and provision his IT needs while remaining on his workstation and within minutes instead of days. Virtualization has became a hot selling and talked about technology and every IT Infrastructure sales consultant claims that it will bring ROI, reduce IT costs, carbon, Data center space and IT administrative work. Virtualization should bring down time for deployment of new servers, services and applications. Market is hot not only about hypervisor based virtualization solutions but also about hardware virtualization for example Blade matrix solution by HP and CloudBrust by IBM. This also brings in the market of management software for Virtualized data centers. Some of such softwares are provided by Hypervisor vendors itself like VMware and Microsoft for example Microsoft's System center virtual machine manager and VMware's Virtual center. However there are lot more tools available from 3rd party vendors which can help in quick designing, deployment, documentation and management of Virtualized IT infrastructure. To read more about these tools please refer to link below.

The biggest challenge in deployment of virtualized solution is to indentify what kind of virtualization an organization requires. It could vary from hardware virtualization, application virtualization, client desktop virtualization to server virtualization. Once that has been indentified it needs to be kept in mind whether virtualization will be a feasible solution to achieve the required goals. For example if you are considering server virtualization you must make sure that apps running on those servers will give required performance in virtualized environment and will be supported by the app vendor. Another example will be hardware virtualization i.e. consolidating all the hardware, network and storage resource into one big pool and then allocation and deallocation based on the IT infrastructure requirements. In such a scenario you need to do optimal capacity planning. It has been observed that when you have all the resources readily available and you need not to go to management for server, hardware and network acquisitions, your combined infrastructure resource pool will exhaust more quickly as it is very easy to provision new server, storage or network resources which leads to quick consumption of pool resources. similarly, in case of application virtualization you need to do an assement of users roaming behaviour and your lan traffic.

Even when you have deployed a virtual infrastructure the bigger challenge that lies ahead is its effective management. Enterprises need to make sure that their Infrastucture management team is trained on Virtualization Technologies. They need to baseline their virtualized environment, do optimal future capacity planning, security hardening. The key to a successfull Virtualized solution is to indentify why you need to virtualize and what are your goals.


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