Virtual server deployment can be intimidating, so some IT managers opt to steer clear and avoid the headache. This hesitance toward virtualization deployment is common, despite virtualization's clear advantages, including improved server energy efficiency, reduced hardware costs and better server management.
But opting out of a virtual server deployment comes at significant cost. An environment without virtualized resources likely suffers from server sprawl, resource underutilization and poor management. And all these nagging problems translate into a single bigger problem: wasted dollars. So passing on a virtualization deployment could cost your IT shop thousands of dollars.
This guide walks you through the process step by step. It covers these four critical phases of server virtualization deployment:
- Assessing your existing environment
A proper IT environment assessment will get your virtual server deployment off on the right foot. You need to analyze the state of your existing physical servers and applications, then determine what it will take for you to virtualize them. (Tools are available to help automate some of this process.) Otherwise, false assumptions about your infrastructure can lead your project down a perilous path.
- Selecting a virtualization platform
Virtual server infrastructure design and planning is a must before starting a virtualization deployment. Not only do you have to choose the best platform -- a hypervisor and its associated management software -- for your organization, but you should also select hardware that meets your needs. Only then should you start your virtual server deployment project.
- Deploying and configuring a virtual infrastructure
There are nine steps you must follow to get your virtualization implementation off the ground. If you've assessed your environment thoroughly and planned your virtualization deployment properly, it will make it easier to follow these steps. But there are still pitfalls you must avoid.
- Selecting virtualization management tools
Once your virtual server deployment project is up and running, management of your new environment becomes your top concern. Virtualization management tool selection can be a tricky process, but there are some guidelines to follow when choosing software for monitoring, administration, security, backup and more.
While embarking on a virtualization deployment can be daunting at first, following the four stages outlined here enables you to attack the project with intention, organization and without becoming overwhelmed.
David Davis is the director of infrastructure at Train Signal Inc., a global leader in video training for IT pros. Davis has a number of certifications, including vExpert, VCP, CISSP and CCIE #9369. Additionally, he has authored hundreds of articles and six different video training courses, including the Train Signal VMware ESX Server video training series. His websites are Happy Router.com and VMwareVideos.com.
This was first published in July 2010