Virtualization Implementation—Taking It One Step at a Time

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Leveraging virtualization technology has the potential to streamline processes, simplify management, and speed up system provisioning, but in order to take advantage of all the benefits of server virtualization, it’s important to have a well-thought out plan for both implementation and monitoring. The “virtualization lifecycle” can be thought of as an process with four key phases. Virtualization implementation should include continuing iterations of the technology, with the organization seeing progressively greater benefits as the cycle moves forward.

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Here’s a look at each of the four stages of implementation:

  • Plan phase – During this stage, you should identify long-term goals while prioritizing short-term projects that have the greatest potential to benefit from virtualization. You should also set goals and find metrics that will determine your success and conduct testing of your network to ensure that you have the necessary capacity and support to carry out the project. Each time you return to this phase, take the time to inventory applications and infrastructure with the best opportunities for improvements.
  • Provide phase – In this phase, you’ll begin to implement your virtualization plan. It’s important to allocate the resources necessary—from the processor to the hypervisor—to make the project successful. At this state, effective workload migration is critical.
  • Protect phase – The protect phase needs to be planned for in advance and is generally carried out in conjunction with the “provide” stage. This stage is where you should set up backup and disaster recovery systems. You should also do some testing at this stage to ensure the reliability and performance of your project.
  • Operate phase – During this phase, you should be basically done implementing the technology, though you’ll continue to monitor virtual machine performance and make adjustments as necessary. Modern virtualization technology offers live migration, or the ability to reallocate resources from one physical machine to another without disruption.

Compliance—Checking at Every Phase

One thing that you should be sure to do at every phase of this process is checking for regulatory compliance. Be sure that you are in line with audit and security measures and controls so that you don’t have to overhaul everything later. You’ll also want to make sure that you have taken the necessary security precautions to protect your network and your data—is there antivirus and firewall software installed, for example?

The process of implementing a virtualization strategy into your business should be an ongoing effort. As you achieve your goals in one area, you’ll want to plan for other short-term projects that could benefit from the effects of virtualization and then start the cycle over.

Where are you at in the virtualization lifecycle? What are your tips for virtualization success?

About The Author: Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.