Companies that use virtualised datacentres must employ strategies and tools to manage them if they are to deliver savings, said a Forrester Research analyst last week.
Speaking at the Forrester IT Forum in Edinburgh, principal consultant Rüdiger Krojnewski said that 23% of European firms are using server virtualisation, and an additional 12% are piloting the process as a means of reducing costs.
"Virtualisation is not just for test systems anymore. Its use is moving from running non-critical systems, to application in frontline client-facing systems. However, server virtualisation requires new thinking and new ways of being managed," he said.
Krojnewski said that while virtual machines can be cheaper to run, they increase the complexity of management, since each virtual machine is still an endpoint. He said current system management tools for virtual servers were not fully developed, and many users were unaware of the need for them.
"Virtual servers have different management needs and have capabilities that many traditional tools cannot cope with. They can disappear by being suspended or be deleted entirely, and they can move around and assume new physical addresses," said Krojnewski.
As a result, Krojnewski said some existing classes of tools need to become more compatible with virtual machines in areas such as configuration management and patching back up and recovery and monitoring and clustering.
For organisations looking to develop their competency in managing virtualisation, Krojnewski recommended starting out with smaller deployments first. Larger roll outs of virtualisation should be coupled with a server consolidation strategy.
"Do not put virutal machine management into a silo of its own. Bring server, storage, and network administrators up to speed on it and delegate management tasks to the appropriate domain specialist," Krojnewski said.