July 29, 2010, 4:52 PM — You wouldn't race down the motorway the day after you've passed your driving exam. You need to mature: learn the basics, build up your experience, and plan ahead. Virtualization is no different. Almost every organization is rushing headlong to deploy the technology, create the building blocks for cloud computing, and capitalize on the advantages of agility, cost, quality, and risk.
But rushing with the speed of a Formula 1 driver into a virtualization strategy--whether it is a stand-alone virtual or hybrid physical and virtual environment--is fraught with risk. Don't expect to deliver a dynamic, self-service virtualized data center overnight. Like driving, you need to adopt a maturity approach--building your virtual cloud future one step at a time. Try and do it all at once, and you'll either stall or crash.
The virtualization journey from straightforward server consolidation to dynamic data center can be long and hard. Even the best virtualization plans struggle, sooner or later, with added complexity, staffing requirements, service level agreement (SLA) management, departmental politics, or something else.
The abstract and increasingly dynamic nature of virtualization makes it easy for rogue deployments to go undetected as they circumvent security and compliance processes, overwhelm networks, and obscure the root causes of business service problems. Most organizations struggle to use virtual resources in more complex, mission-critical applications, as they must be assured and managed accordingly to their role in business services--something not directly the expertise or interest of virtualization platform specialist.
Don't be floored by VM sprawl
During the initial server consolidation phase, when the organization is migrating from the physical to the virtual, you'll want to avoid the common pitfall of VM sprawl. This is where the number of virtual machines running in a virtualized infrastructure increases over time, simply because of the ease of creating new VMs, not because those VMs are absolutely necessary for the business. The concern here is the overuse of the infrastructure if it is not needed and the cost of licenses for virtual machines that may not have been required.