7/10/2007

Blades, Virtualization, VMWare

Virtualization is one very common term floating around Corporate IT circles. It means different for different people and no matter what it means, everybody agrees on one thing, which is basically that it is a means of cost-savings. People consider virtualization to be server consolidation, hosting your company's services on Amazon etc etc, but to me ..

Virtualization is about creating a virtual, rather than actual, version of a computing environment. Virtualization is useful for consolidation because one physical server can host several virtual versions of an operating system/systems or applications.
Virtualization is a good option for IT shops with several servers that are running applications that do not use up much of the capacity in the box Eg: VMware and Microsoft platforms in the virtual data center...Remember all those systems in Certification, Integration that "hardly" hum and remember that testing you couldn't do because you didn't have a server with the environment you needed to test it on? Virtualization can be the silver bullet for you! You can use the idle capacity of your boxes to launch different OS's basically making one machine assume different characteristics based on the need! Simulating a heterogeneous test environment for product platforms becomes a cakewalk...product demos to customers on multifarious platforms by Marketing becomes easy...have various VMware instances (each instance is only a file :)) and pick and choose as per customer demand..one laptop, no partition!
Infact, what I would ideally like to see is Product vendors coming out with pre-configured VMWare versions for products on platforms they support. A solid example on how this would be useful is from my own experience...We have a major memory leak going on for one of our application in Production running on a Linux Opteron server...we have been evaluating java profiling tools and have almost decided on JProbe and we thought that it would be a great fit for our needs currently...BUT now after talks with JProbe, we realise that don't have a version of their product for Linux,Opteron...Would have been good if they had a VMWare packaged version of their product in a friendly platform...we would have grabbed it with open hands...Java is java anywhere .. on Opteron, Sparc whatever...so just being able to run JProbe on our machine was more important to us!

Talked a lot about cost savings by flexibility, grouping above...there are other advantages too...especially when combined with blade servers, the cost savings can be enormous...less space occupied, easier maintenance, savings in power costs, flexibility, easier configuration, faster response to needs and more! In fact, there are claims from companies saying that they saved around 70% or more in datacenter costs...not a very easy number to achieve, but nevertheless i think you can save quite a bit if you use it the RIGHT way!!

Though in Corporate circles I should say, Might is RIGHT :P///Right ?

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