Five’s IT head is seeking board approval for the roll-out of virtualisation technology in the broadcaster’s operations, following the success of its initial implementation.
But challenges remain around internal acceptance of the resulting consolidation as well as capacity planning, according to analysts.
In 2006 the UK’s fifth terrestrial television channel implemented VMware’s virtualisation technology for application testing and soon followed up with the technology for its disaster recovery.
The power, space, time and cost savings that resulted were enough to convince Ken Davies, head of IT at the broadcaster, that virtualisation should be used across the company’s infrastructure. Currently 25 servers have been virtualised on three physical servers.
He said the virtualised environments have reduced costs, increased space and the benefits of it are easy to explain to directors. “I do not want to go to the directors and talk about virtualisation but the benefits to the business,” he said.
The benefits are clear to Five but moving into operational environments will present challenges. Chris Ingle, analyst at IDC, said there are risks in any migration. “However most IT directors I have spoken to have not experienced major problems and for many this is a very simple process,” he said.
Ingle said some typical issues must be resolved. “For example, proper capacity planning is needed to ensure that the physical server is able to handle the load of the virtual servers consolidated onto it. “
He added that there can be internal resistance to doing this kind of consolidation.
Bob Tarzy, analyst at Quocirca, said virtualisation is an ideal technology in the storage environment for a company such as Five, which stores large amounts of rich media. “But moving the technology into other environments is always challenging because despite testing you cannot tell how it will work until it is in live environments,” he warned.
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