Tips to Success
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Server virtualization is the process of using software on a physical server to create multiple partitions or "virtual instances" each capable of running independently. Whereas on a single dedicated server the entire machine has only one instance of an operating system, on a virtual server the same machine can be used to run multiple server instances each with independent operating system configurations.
Server virtualization consolidates multiple operating systems (OS) on a single server. Consider it if you need to do any of the following:
Virtualization is a process that entails more than purchasing and installing a product. It's a technology journey.
To get started, consider the following four steps recommended by some Cisco Certified Partners that have managed virtualization projects for businesses of all sizes.
You're in good company if you're overdue for a technology refresh.
"It's common to see customers suffering from server sprawl, trying to coax performance from disparate OS, or limping along with old hardware," says Edward Sohn, CEO of Ubisec Systems. A Cisco Premier Certified Partner, Ubisec Systems specializes in cloud infrastructure, voice, and security; it also offers Cisco-centric managed services to small and medium-sized businesses.
At the systems level, assess the speed and capacity of your CPUs, processors, and disk I/O, says Sohn. When Ubisec Systems provides this service, "we look at email, file servers, domain services, database applications, hard disk setup, and other systems to evaluate where virtualization could make an improvement," he says.
At the network level, assess the performance of your switching, routing, and WAN links, says Renner. When Peak IP Solutions provides this service, "we often find that WAN acceleration will make a huge difference," he says. "And for anyone doing replication, WAN optimization is essential."
In the Innovators article The ROI of Virtualization, Sohn and Renner report on results that businesses have achieved.
Choose virtualization technology that will improve performance as well as reduce complexity and costs, now and in the years ahead. For example, the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS™) platform provides unified fabric and a single management interface, for higher performance and lower costs.
Advantages of Cisco UCS C-Series rack servers include their hard-disk capacity, extended memory, and a management controller that enables "lights out" remote server management. An optional virtual interface card also enables just-in-time provisioning and reduces CapEx for NICs, host bus adapters, cabling, and switches.
C-Series server prices start at about $3000. Ideal for virtualizing servers such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL, the Cisco UCS C-Series can also be the first building blocks of an infrastructure that encompasses unified communications and blade servers.
When you have your virtualization hardware and software in hand, the migration timeline can range from two or three weeks to two or three months, depending on the number of sites and servers and your staff resources.
From the outset, align your company's server and network staff to avoid increasing operations costs. "A systems person, whose expertise is managing servers, OS, and applications, will need network skills to manage things like traffic, VLANs, and switching," says Renner. "And a network person will have to know how to manage the systems, such has how to push quality of service down into servers." If your IT staff doesn’t yet have the expanded skills required by virtualization, bring in external expertise.
Cisco Certified Partners with expertise in virtualization can help your organization plan and take its virtualization journey - including technology financing and installation, training, and award-winning ongoing support.
Find a local Cisco Certified Partner to help you get started with virtualization.
Show your CEO or CFO the Innovators article The ROI of Virtualization
Watch a video overview of the Cisco UCS C-Series.
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