Virtualisation is the key server trend for the next four years, but its compelling ROI can be lost if firms do not implement proper assessments before they deploy, warns Gartner.
Following conversations with more than 1000 clients, Gartner has come up with six steps companies embarking on server virtualisation should follow to realise the full potential of the technology. These are: start small, rapid ROI, virtualise the right applications, define your storage strategy, understand software issues, and combine virtual machines effectively
Rather than large-scale virtualisation, Gartner advises that from a cost, management, and culture perspective, starting small makes sense.
While the first phase involves consolidating, the second phase, built on strong foundations, will shift toward delivering new services as well improving quality and speed of service.
It is important to build a business case with a return on investment within a maximum of six months, as the market is changing fast alongside the prices.
Applications with high input/output do not make the best bedfellows with virtual machines, while applications using established hardware will not generate savings. Older, smaller packaged applications are better suited to the virtualisation treatment. Most virtual machines are currently deployed in production roles but mission-critical roles are increasingly being virtualised.
To gain maximum flexibility, images should be stored on a central storage system so they can be accessed from any server connected to the storage system.
It is a new and rapidly changing market, so software firms' licensing, pricing and support are still in a state of flux and likely to remain so for the near future. Until the situation settles, companies should investigate ISV's pricing and licensing policies carefully.
Incorporating flexibility to be able to dynamically relocate server capacity is more important than creating a perfect static consolidation, as workloads will change.