How do I know if a server can be virtualized?

Find out if your servers are virtualization enabled in this expert response from James Geis.

How do I know if a server can be virtualized?
While a significant portion of your x86 servers can be virtualized, not every server or application can or should be. If an application requires large amounts of memory, access to a lot of processing power (CPU), or specialized hardware that cannot or should not be managed by the virtual machine software, it should not be virtualized.

Note that at the start of any virtualization project, before performing any physical to virtual migration, you...

should complete a thorough virtualization assessment, including a performance assessment—captured regularly over weeks, not a snapshot—and a hardware and software inventory. You must know the performance attributes of the server; the existing hardware attributes (third party attachments, host cards, etc); and the support requirements, including any and all third party application support requirements.

Vendors might sometimes want to rush you to the end state without going through the virtualization assessment and planning, arguing that the migration features of the software can "correct" any problems after migration into the virtual space. This, of course, is a mistake--why build any computing environment without a clear picture of the requirements.

This was last published in March 2007

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