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August 2010, Vol. 25

How to make the most of hardware service contracts

Adding virtualization into IT data centers enables more services to run on less hardware. Running atop a hypervisor, a single server can host multiple virtual machines (VMs). By consolidating physical servers, organizations may find that they have far more optimized use of their resources. At the same time, consolidation also brings about the need for greater levels of availability. When a virtual host goes down, more than one VM and more than one IT service goes down with it. Today’s virtual administrators recognize that consolidation requires new levels of high availability that—until recently—were only possible in the largest and most expensive data centers. High availability only gets you so far, though. When a problem strikes a server or a piece of networking equipment, high availability enables the IT service to relocate elsewhere, but it does nothing for fixing the initial problem. Solving that problem often requires help from the vendor. Usually, that assistance is codified in the form of a hardware service contract, ...

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