Virtualization Coming to Mission-Critical Apps

John Storts
Slide Show

Seven Data Virtualization Keys

Consider applying seven secrets practiced by your enterprise counterparts to make your own advanced data virtualization projects and architectures successful.


As Arthur Cole points out, the conventional wisdom on virtual infrastructure technology has been that it's just not stable enough to entrust with an enterprise's "crown jewels": mission-critical applications. The advantages of virtualization, such as cost reduction and data center consolidation, can't be fully realized if these important apps remain outside of the transition.


However, a growing number of virtual solutions target this reliability concern with the goal of making virtual systems more dependable than - or at least as dependable as - their physical counterparts. Rather than just focusing on server performance alone, solutions like those provided by Virtual Instruments and Zing provide better management functions, integration with other technologies and visibility across mixed types of infrastructure. Valid reasons for not moving top-tier business applications into the virtual realm might become increasingly scarce if solutions like these prove successful.


But what if you're an IT decision-maker in the early stages of assessing what virtualization can do for you? You'll want to start by taking a look at the tools, checklists, book excerpts and calculators that address virtualization in the Knowledge Network. These resources help you determine if virtualization is right for you and explain how to plan and implementa transition.


We're interested in hearing your experiences with virtualization and virtual infrastructure solutions. If your organization has recently adopted a virtualization strategy, or if it has already moved its most important applications into virtual environments, we encourage you to share your stories with our community of IT professionals.


More from the Knowledge Network and IT Business Edge

Green Data Center Calculator - Virtualization

Virtualization For Dummies Excerpt

Virtual Security: Pros Worried, But Not Doing Much About It


More from Our Network

Top 10 Issues Stalling Virtualization Adoption

Simplifying Virtualization Management

Moving a Data Center: Avoid These Four Career-Limiting Mistakes

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 2, 2010 4:42 PM Ken Donoghue Ken Donoghue  says:

Focusing on server performance alone, or any single HW or SW component in a virtual infrastructure, is a recipe for disaster where mission-critical apps are concerned. However, including fault-tolerant servers in the virtual infrastructure has been the key for many of our customers (Stratus Technologies) who want to do this. If interested, a case study example can be found here: http://www.stratus.com/pdf/success_stories/Westpac_Institutional_Bank.pdf

Jul 6, 2010 6:11 PM John Green John Green  says:

We've virtualized nearly our entire customer service production infrastructure, ~75% of corporate, and ~50% of our engineering production infrastructures.   There are varying reasons for determining which applications are virtualized, however the fact that an application is mission-critical is not one of them.  That said, there are mission-critical applications that have not been virtualized for performance reasons, such as i/o requirements for some applications leveraging oracle databases.

I don't agree with the statement that the advantages of virtualization cannot be fully realized if mission-critical applications remaining outside of the transition.   The cost benefits associated with: the reduction in power, cooling, computer room footprint, and physical server purchases; the flexibility in implementing DR, both locally and remotely; and the increased speed with which solutions can be made available to meet business needs can be realized immediately without virtualizing  100% of infrastructure.  We've made significant savings in physical server purchases alone that would have been required to meet our business needs.

Availability and performance remain the most significant factors in managing mission-critical applications.   Full disclosure, I work at Stratus Technologies, we run our mission-critical applications on our own servers; these servers provide greater than five 9s availability.   Our service application is our most mission-critical application, as stated earlier it is nearly 100% virtualized.  This infrastructure support a customer base that demands the highest levels of availability for their applications; applications used for credit card authorizations, telephone switching, 911 services, power plants, stock exchanges, transportation, banking, etc.  These applications must be available 24 x 7 x 365 and as a result our service infrastructure must be available 24 x 7 x 365.   Virtualization has come to our mission-critical applications.


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