As IT administrators attempt to increase business agility, perhaps no technology addresses this need better than server virtualization.
In today’s economy, organization can no longer match a competitor’s product line or services. Companies must implement innovative technologies faster and with greater efficiency across all facets of their operation.
Server virtualization improves business agility in many ways. With effective capacity planning, a virtual infrastructure reduces both service delivery and service recovery time as well as infrastructure build-out time. Virtualization also increases the efficiency of administration tasks and allows IT professionals to access real-time performance data. Proper capacity planning within the infrastructure promotes better decision-making, budgeting and management.
Capacity planning improves business agility
Server virtualization can dramatically reduce infrastructure build-out times. In a physical environment, adding a server for a new set of applications can take weeks or months. In a virtual infrastructure, you can reduce that process to a matter of hours. Effective capacity planning reduces the number of physical servers and increases the ability to deploy new virtual hosts on an existing virtual infrastructure.
Additionally, virtualization creates of a pool of resources, which you can tap for new services. By building out a virtual infrastructure, IT can quickly and efficiently provision new services when a demand arises.
VM capacity planning and management also highlights where excess capacity and bottlenecks exist. Once these areas are identified, IT personnel can redistribute virtual machine workloads using live migration functionality.
More efficient use of hardware leads to greater business agility
Virtualization unleashes the full computing power of servers. Intel and AMD processors have virtualization extensions integrated directly onto the silicon to support advanced virtualization features. New motherboard chipsets also maximize I/O throughput and memory allocation for virtualized workloads.
With these features, IT personnel can better match server resources to workloads, which reduces inefficiencies and costs associated with untapped or overcommitted resources. This improves IT’s abilities to meet business demands, contributing to a positive ROI.
When IT practices proper capacity planning and VM management, scale-out becomes just as easy as scale-up. In a virtual infrastructure, rapid OS provisioning and dynamic load balancing enable applications to take advantage of multiple servers in ways that are not as feasible with physical systems. Data provided by VM management tools allow IT administrators to make rapid adjustments as physical-resource demands change. Better visibility into VM behavior also promotes a more efficient adjustment of resource levels, further contributing to business agility.
In the end, an agile business reacts quickly and effectively to internal and external demands. Server virtualization is one way that organizations can exert quick and dynamic control over an infrastructure. With server virtualization, IT also becomes a better service provider, enabling businesses to meet new market demands.
This was first published in December 2011