Virtualising The Server Environment

A smooth transition to virtualisation depends on the level of understanding between the vendor and CIO.

Chirasrota Jena February 28, 2008 12:26:49 IST
Virtualising The Server Environment

IDC has identified virtualisation as one of the key technologies behind the successful evolution of existing data centres to the next-generation platform. Server virtualisation is gaining rapid traction in the APAC region. A key motivation for its use is to run more applications on a single server, making better use of its processing power while also reducing the number of machines. Such efficiency means higher power to performance ratios, and less money spent on cooling more servers.

Although a lot has been discussed about virtualisation over the last two years, it is now that the Indian enterprises are actually deploying the tools and reaping the benefits. Though virtualisation is most commonly applied to servers, storage and networks, it can be also applied to nonphysical resources, including applications, middleware, distributed systems and even virtual resources themselves.

As virtualisation becomes omnipresent, it is also posing challenges for the CIOs to cost effectively manage an increasingly complex infrastructure.

Customers today, therefore, need a management platform that works across the data centre and allows them to manage the physical and virtual resources to quickly and flexibly respond to business requirements. Companies like IBM, HP, VMware and others are coming up with latest applications on server virtualisation to provide maximum benefits to their customers.

Solutions from vendors

IBM began addressing the need for virtualisation in the SMB market in 2006. In June 2007, IBM announced its virtualisation management software which adds a number of new capabilities for simplifying management of virtual and physical systems across multiple platforms.

According to Shailesh Agarwal, country manager, Storage, IBM India and South Asia, "A recent study from research group Info-Tech shows that businesses adopting virtualisation realise a 40 to 75% reduction in hardware acquisition costs and monthly recurring savings in hardware maintenance costs of 25 to 50%. With numbers like those, the research firm believes cost-conscious IT departments will be forced to consider virtualisation in the coming year. Our virtualisation products help consolidate workloads into more efficient arrangements of hardware, allow flexibility in resource deployment, and help manage resources better."

On the other hand, HP is providing an integrated solution bundling hardware, software and services for the Indian enterprises under the umbrella of Virtual Server Environment. It has also introduced the pay per use services for the present day organisations to get the maximum benefits out of their investment.

Informs Suresh Menon, business manager, Business Critical Systems, HP India Sales, "We have introduced this concept of pay per use so that the CIOs can benefit from the technology. The enterprise doesn't have to invest a lot in order to prepare for the upcoming requirements. Thus we are providing integrated technology which has high availability along with complete automation system."

Efficient administration of server resources

Highlighting the benefits of server virtualisation, Daya Praksh, IT head, LG Electronics, states, "Server virtualisation helps in breaking the hard connection between applications and the physical infrastructure present to support the same. It gives flexibility to host multiple applications on the same physical server. Some of the key benefits of server virtualisation are increased utilisation, increased flexibility, increased performance, increased availability and reduced spending on server procurement and redirecting funds in more strategic avenues."

Server virtualisation also helps in efficient administration of the server resources from a single console, cutting out on the non productivity of IT administrators.

Benefits may vary

A smooth transition to the server virtualisation environment depends a great deal on the level of understanding between the solution provider and the enterprise. "The benefits of virtualisation vary depending on the customer’s objectives, the specific virtualisation technologies selected and the existing IT infrastructure. Not all customers obtain the same benefits from implementing a particular virtualisation solution," opines Menon.

The major players in this segment should guide the enterprises appropriately, while they decide to embark upon server virtualisation. They should advise their customers on their requirements and pain points and should provide cost effective solutions to push their products further.

As more and more applications are coming in, CIOs have to juggle with the responsibility of managing operations efficiently, by catering to the increasing demand of business support through systems, in terms of availability, uptime, performance and cost effectiveness. This has prompted the CIOs to shift their IT risk to the vendors, bringing down the operating cost in the process. Moving away from the traditional approach of procuring the necessary infrastructure and upgrading it to transferring the entire responsibility to the service provider, gives a significant edge to the CIOs.

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