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Using virtualization to speed up IT service requests

Improved IT efficiency often helps offset server virtualization costs. Virtualization eliminates much of the red tape associated with fulfilling IT service requests, such as provisioning

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more resources or new applications. That reduction, in turn, delivers a valuable return on investment (ROI).

When IT receives a new service request in a physical infrastructure, a sequence of events is set into motion: spending approval, procurement, rack and stack as well as the integration of hardware. But, in a virtualized infrastructure, you can reduce or eliminate these steps to significantly accelerate service deployment and improve IT efficiency. 

The costs of capital
In physical infrastructures, the capital expenditure process is often a time-consuming and frustrating part of delivering additional IT services. And it can require multiple spending approval requests.

Virtualization’s abstraction of physical resources won’t completely eliminate this problem, but it will speed up this step. When you implement a virtualization platform and enough resources are available, you can swiftly build virtual machines without additional signatures from higher levels, which decreases delivery time and increases IT efficiency.

Supply chain pains
Deploying a new service or system atop physical resources usually requires careful choreography across multiple teams. It involves checking availability, placing orders and waiting for delivery.

In a virtual infrastructure, you have resources prepositioned in anticipation of IT service requests.  As a result, the supply chain doesn’t affect service delivery as much.

The people in procurement 
Procurement is sometimes overlooked as a source of project delays, but this step can significantly inhibit IT efficiency. Although the individual steps (i.e., issuing requisitions, contacting vendors, placing orders) don’t appear to be resource intensive -- collectively, they have the potential to add cost and delays to any project.

Deploying a new service on an existing virtual infrastructure removes procurement from the IT service request process. As with capital costs, the abstraction of resources enables IT to proactively plan for upcoming needs.

Physical peril
Implementing physical equipment requires time and effort. IT spends valuable time identifying rack space, allocating power and cooling, and locating network addresses. In a less physical, more virtualized environment, there is less infrastructure to manage. For example, a 20-to-1 consolidation ratio means that you need to rack-and-stack only one physical machine to do 20 workloads.

Ultimately, service groups strive to decrease the time between IT service requests and delivery. Virtualization offers an opportunity to eliminate many of the conventional time-consuming steps involved in delivering a new service --  boosting IT efficiency and ROI for virtualization projects.

This was first published in November 2011

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