7 Keys to Virtualizing the Data Center

Data Center, Network InstrumentsWhile 80 percent of organizations have virtualized some elements of their infrastructure or run a couple of applications on virtual servers, many have shied away from larger virtual deployments.  But this is changing as IT is being driven to virtualize larger portions of their network. “Virtualization now drives efficient IT from all angles, including data center design, platform updates, and application and infrastructure modernization, as well as traditional and new delivery models, such as infrastructure utility and cloud computing. However, virtualization does take investment; the savings are not a given.”

This migration not only comes with huge upsides like cost reductions and operational efficiency gains, but it completely changes how you purchase, deploy, and manage the network and service delivery. While the positives make these projects easy to justify to management, a lack of planning and proper budgeting can stop even the best network team.

The following matrix serves as a roadmap outlining seven considerations to ensure the virtual success of your project.

Considerations Details
1. Phased deployments One of the most challenging aspects of any large virtualization project is estimating the budget. Upgrading to the latest Cisco Nexus switch or purchasing new servers and analysis devices can quickly eat through a budget. To spread out costs, consider multiple staged deployments.
2. Standardize components Standardize your hardware platform and software environment. Use the same hypervisors, same underlying hardware, etc. Be sure all hardware and software are compatible.
3. Note older machines Often network teams recycle older machines by using them as backup systems. If existing machines don’t meet project technical requirements, this could adversely impact your budget if not dealt with ahead of time.
4. Managing resource provisioning While deploying VMs can be easy, managing new deployments, resource provisioning, and VM performance can be very difficult. Here are a couple of options to evaluate: VMware vCenter Orchestrator and VMLogix.
5. Software licenses Often software licensing may not be based on a virtual model. Understand whether additional expenses will be incurred by placing software on multiple virtual systems.
6. Virtual monitoring Three critical monitoring considerations:
1) Will you have visibility to all traffic using existing monitoring tools?
2) Will you be able to push virtual traffic out to all physical monitoring devices? This may require using the Cisco Nexus 1000V or a Virtual TAP.
3) Can you monitor virtual machines and the underlying infrastructure?
7. Support resources Network teams often make the mistake of assuming that fewer physical servers means less technical support is required to maintain resources. Ensure adequate technical expertise and backup resources are in place.


We want to thank Network Instruments for sharing this article.