Essential Guide

How to choose the best hardware for virtualization


To say that virtualization changed the way businesses use and purchase hardware is an understatement. Simply spinning up a new VM on existing hardware is worlds easier than purchasing and provisioning a physical server to match a new workload. However, even though vitalization has allowed us to abstract workloads from the underlying hardware, those physical resources are still the backbone of any data center. Without a solid foundation of hardware resources, bottlenecks and resource contention problems can cripple a data center. The ease with which admins can provision a new VM can lead to VM sprawl, causing major networking headaches as admins struggle to track networked devices and avoid network bottlenecks.

Modern servers are shipping with massive amounts of memory, multiple network interface cards and support for solid-state storage. With all the options available, it's hard to know what you need. This guide on choosing the best hardware for virtualization can help.

1CPU and RAM-

Processor and memory requirements

Choosing the best hardware for virtualization begins with a server's memory and computing resources. More often than not, memory will be the limiting factor in the number of virtual machines a server can host. And, of course, a shortage in either RAM or processing power can directly affect performance. In many cases, organizations choose to repurpose existing hardware for virtualization, but do you know what to look for when it's time to replace aging servers?


The best CPU, processors and memory for virtualized data centers

This tip delves further into the hardware selection process and covers hardware purchasing considerations for CPUs, processors and memory. Continue Reading


Up to you: Dual-core quad-processor or quad-core dual-processor systems?

What is best for virtualization systems, speed or cores? And what hits the pocket book the least and gives you a better return on investment and lowest cost per VM? Find out from our expert. Continue Reading


What size server hardware for virtual machines?

IT expert Eric Siebert shares what he's learned about choosing servers for different types of virtual machines to fit the current and future needs of a virtual environment. Continue Reading


Employing high-performance GPUs to handle changing server workloads

The push to virtualization and increased reliance on multimedia and visualization tools has prompted businesses to reconsider the need for server-based graphics hardware. Continue Reading


New trends in RISC technology, ARM processors for server virtualization

The latest RISC processors support virtualization and will change the way computing resources scale to meet workload demands. Continue Reading


Advisory board shares facts about buying next generation hardware for virtualization

This month, we asked our Advisory Board members how virtualization is continuing to change the relationship IT professionals have with hardware. Continue Reading


Network hardware options

Before virtualization, most servers used only a fraction of their network bandwidth and a single network interface card had no trouble keeping up. Now, with a physical server capable of hosting hundreds of virtual machines, a server's network interface card or cards can easily be overwhelmed. Networking problems, like I/O bottlenecks, are some of the biggest challenges an IT admin will face. Choosing the right network hardware can help ease your problems.


Network I/O virtualization: Making 10 GbE smarter

This tip explains how a 10 GbE card can deliver network I/O virtualization from the evils of low bandwidth, ease management and improve power consumption. Continue Reading


Maximizing I/O virtualization

Use I/O virtualization to consolidate virtual server workloads and reduce port and NIC overcrowding with this tip. Continue Reading


How to improve network performance via advanced NIC options

Ethernet networks often struggle with modern data center workloads, but emerging NIC technologies are here to help improve network performance. Continue Reading


Increasing network bandwidth available to virtual machines

These three tips on increasing the amount of network bandwidth available to your VMs, including virtual network creation, can also potentially increase a host server's VM density. Continue Reading


The iSCSI versus NFS debate: Configuring storage protocols in vSphere

For performance rivaling Fibre Channel, you can bet on iSCSI or NFS. But one protocol has the edge when it comes to ease of configuration in vSphere. Continue Reading


Storage hardware trends

Storage technology has made huge advances in recent years, and keeping up with these trends is essential to having the best hardware for virtualization. Hypervisor-aware storage, with integrated software that gives admins better insight into virtual workloads, storage IOPS and disk use helps prevent performance problems before they start. While most virtualized infrastructures rely on shared storage, there is a growing movement today to outfit servers with local storage, which has improved and dropped in price over recent years. Find out which approach is right for your data center.


Hypervisor-aware storage serves up per-VM stats

Virtualization admins will have less of an opportunity to blame storage for unidentifiable problems thanks to the advent of hypervisor-aware storage. Continue Reading


VDI storage requirements: Do you need a new storage array?

Implementing VDI could mean a new storage array on your part. Figure out your VDI storage requirements and learn what types of storage arrays are best for VDI. Continue Reading


Data center storage virtualization considerations

Before making data center storage virtualization decisions, consider storage performance and redundant storage access, among other issues Continue Reading


Local storage for virtualization: Will it catch on?

Local storage is making a comeback. Storage and virtualization vendors are utilizing local disks, providing a cheaper alternative to shared storage. Continue Reading


VMware SSD updates: Making a solid case for local ESXi storage

Solid-state storage is beginning to make a splash in data centers, and there are a handful of VMware SSD use cases for that can improve ESXi host performance. Continue Reading

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