Infrastructure Virtualization

Infrastructure Virtualization

The trend for virtualizing server environments has grown considerably over recent years – and with good reason. Virtualizing servers offers real value by better using the available resources; reducing compute waste, allowing for dynamic and flexible resource allocation and improving business flexibility.

Manageability and sustainability are all key features. Virtualization offers improved manageability of environments and the automation and orchestration of processes and workflows de-risks an environment by eliminating human error.

Moving to a virtual environment can present challenges. Environments have often evolved without a clear strategic vision and can often be highly fragmented and wasteful, with various elements bolted on for specific tasks without any real thought to strategic integration with the rest of the environment – an IT version of Frankenstein’s monster.

Understanding these environments is crucial to making the transition a virtualised solution and Cutter is expert in the discovery and analysis exercise – it is important to have a strategic plan to help with the migration, optimising hardware usage and performance and also identifying opportunities for consolidation.

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Typical data centers contain a number of servers - in enterprise environments this number can be very large. Many of these servers sit idle as the workload distribution across these servers often underutilizes their full capability. This results in a waste of expensive hardware resources, power, maintenance and cooling requirements.

Server virtualization attempts to increase resource utilization by partitioning physical servers into multiple virtual servers, each running its own operating system and applications.

Server virtualization makes each virtual server look and act like a physical server, multiplying the capacity of every single physical machine.

1What is Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid Cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of Cloud (both Private and Public) and on premise services to provide a flexible and robust IT infrastructure. Computing of this form has been around many years, but recent large scale adoption of Cloud computing has led to an advancement in management capability around these hybrid environments.
2What is Hybrid Storage?
Hybrid Storage solutions incorporate high performance flash memory alongside traditional spinning disks. They use software to keep data optimized between Flash and Disk to ensure regularly accessed data is kept “hot” to allow for fast access. Hybrid storage solutions need careful design to ensure that the Flash layer is large enough to keep data that requires fast access is kept in the “hot” flash layer. This type of storage platform can be a good fit for environments that know how ‘much’ storage capacity they need but are unsure of how to break this down into different levels of performance. It’s certainly not a silver bullet but it helps deliver a performance increase over traditional spinning disk arrays without the expense of deploying a fully flash array when it may not be needed.
3How do I know what resources I will need when virtualizing my environment?
Capacity planning when virtualizing is not an easy task. There are a number of things that need to be considered. You will need to decide which servers or services you plan to or can virtualize (some services do not sit in a virtual environment well due to resource requirements or licensing issues). Once these servers have been identified an in-depth study of their resource requirements needs to be carried out. Cutter recommend that capacity planning software is run for at least 30 days to gather this information so you capture the full operating month of an organisation (including those month end tasks). The basic information needed is CPU (both cores and clock speed), Ram, Disk (both capacity and IO), and Network requirements. Armed with this information design of the virtual environment can begin.