Virtualisation management: Quick win, quick fall if you fail to plan ahead

For some companies, going too fast from the testing phase of virtualisation to live production could be dangerous, according to an IT service provider.

Virtualisation seems to be the hot word of the year for all businesses large and small. As everyone concentrates on deciding whether VMware is better than Microsoft Hyper-V, they might overlook one of the major pitfalls in moving to a virtual world -- the lack of forward planning.

A system that is not planned and correctly tested is often not set for success.

Will Rodbard, Senior Consultant, Plan-Net,

Many organisations invest only a small amount of money and time investigating solutions, but choosing one which is tailored to the business rather than investing in the coolest, latest or cheapest product on the market can save them from the illusion of cost-effectiveness.

The second mistake organisations often make is to put together the virtual environment quite quickly for 'testing' purposes, which then, almost without anyone realising it, become used in production or live due to demands in the market to keep up with the rest of the business. Or this is because an IT department is using the new and only partly-tested environment as a way to provision services rapidly in order to gain a 'quick win' with the rest of the business. A system that is not planned and correctly tested is often not set for success.

Plan for virtualisation and its management
My advice would be to plan, plan and then plan some more.

I suggest organisations that are thinking about virtualising their system undertake a capacity planning exercise. They should start by accurately analysing the existing infrastructure; this gives the business the necessary information required to correctly scope the hardware required for a virtual environment, and in turn provides the necessary information for licensing.

Do not go from testing a new technology on to a live/production environment without sufficient testing and understanding of the technology. The inefficiencies could damage business continuity and the quality of services.

All in all, I would advise organisations that are not specifically of the IT sector to engage with a certified partner company to assist with design and planning and, equally importantly, undertake certified training courses to prepare staff to work with the new system.

Will Rodbard is a senior consultant at IT services provider Plan-Net and a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.UK.

Read more on Server virtualisation platforms and management

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