Standardization and consolidation are the first stages in increasing efficiency and effectiveness, while harmonization and virtualization represent further steps in boosting the productivity of IT operations organizations (see structured discovery and exploiting treasures). With better system capacity utilization, virtualized infrastructures simultaneously provide greater flexibility and form the basis for cloud solutions.
Virtualization – what does it mean?
By inserting an additional level between hardware and application (abstraction layer), devices, operating systems and services can be represented virtually. For a user, the virtual object behaves exactly like its “original” physical equivalent. The abstraction layer allows parallel and independent operation of several virtual computers or operating system.
IT resources can be allocated quickly with little administrative effort to virtual environments without having to install new hardware in the individual systems. Better use can therefore be made of existing resources (which are usually more powerful than the “original”).
Among other things, servers, operating systems, applications, storage, desktop systems, networks, etc. can all be virtualized.
Virtualization requires a strategy!
Virtualization presents IT departments with significant challenges both technically and organizationally.
The basic element in clean virtualization is a clear strategy, together with sustainable concepts for development, operation, maintenance and automation.
Here it must be clarified which physical systems are suitable for virtualization in the first place. The complexity and dynamics of the underlying relationships, such as database links and interdependencies between configurations, capacities, services and applications, must also be surveyed. The resulting roadmap for effective implementation simultaneously provides the basis for procurement of necessary components and resource planning.
Simple relocation of an existing “wilderness” into a virtual environment comes under the heading of “action for action’s sake” and is counterproductive in the long term.
In order to ensure the necessary high level of availability and to meet the highest requirements regarding dynamic load distribution, failure safety and automation, storage systems and networks (including the storage network) must be designed appropriately, along with the virtualization functions themselves.
In contrast to physical servers, implementation of mechanisms with high availability even increases operational security. However, virtualized environments do offer a new area of attack in the context of system and data security, which must be countered by appropriate security architecture.
New tasks for IT organizations
In many cases dealing with virtualized environments is uncharted territory for IT organizations and usually expands the range of tasks they must complete significantly.
In order to be able to use new options such as flexible provisioning, provision of images and migration of virtual machines effectively and prevent excessive use of storage space, updates and maintenance, virtual environments need tools and guidelines for their management. A minimum degree of standardization is therefore unavoidable. In addition, a high level of automation is essential in order to be able to manage the often rapidly increasing number of virtual servers.
In advance of a large virtualization rollout, pilot applications help to develop expertise, gain experience and run through essential learning curves for the organization quickly.
ResultONE has many years of experience in operating data centers, their ongoing development and corresponding optimization and is happy to put this expertise at your disposal.