Server virtualization is a common deployment in Indian companies. Commercial houses want to avoid physical servers, and paying through the nose for power and cooling, notwithstanding the ever-increasing real-estate prices. While going about virtual server training, you can start with a set of systems lying around. Pre-install it with a virtualization software and test. This should be done purely from the learning and testing perspective and not from the production system's view. Once you have hands-on experience on the software, you can work on the implementation.
The next step is to install server virtualization software. You have a wide choice of vendors, including VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix. Whenever you are going in for a virtual server in your organization, the choice of software should be solution-oriented, not product-oriented.
Find out what your company requirements are. Choose the software based on your requirements and costs. The best way out is to have an IT policy in place, as there will be no discipline without this. Ensure that whenever you are going about server virtualization, there is a blue-print available in front of you. This will help you to know the various tasks and ensure that a certain task 'A' should necessarily be completed to satisfy task 'B'.
After installing the servers, have a set of pilot testers who access them within the network. Virtual server training should be within a private domain where they can do the testing and then these pilot testers give feedback. For maintaining the new infrastructure your IT team can get an IT implementer on board. In addition, there are product-based websites on the Internet that you can refer.
One of the problems with server virtualization is storage. With multiple workloads coming from the physical source, hiccups over random input-output are possible. Treat the virtualized server as a real physical server. Whenever storage or network bandwidth or any kind of operating system resources are being assigned by a particular virtualized server that contain all the virtual machines being accessed by the client, the administrators of those servers must keep in mind that a virtual server is only limited to the capacity which is there on the physical server. So, it shouldn't be over-burdened.
Ensure that the disk resource allocation (which happens when the server has a huge hard disk) is shared network attached storage. This will enable all these virtual machines to communicate with each other from a common storage, saving multiple hard drives on each virtual machine-dedicated set.
About the author: Anil Mahadev is a strategic visionary on database, virtualization (VMware and Hyper-V) and competitive product research strategy' working as an independent technical solutions architect (databases and virtualization technologies).
(As told to Anuradha Ramamirtham)