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    10 Ways Virtualization Can Help Your Business

    Virtualization has taken a firm hold at most enterprises these days, but the fact is we’ve only just begun to unleash the true potential of the technology. Our Arthur Cole spoke to analysts and industry experts to compile the following quick list of the ways virtualization can benefit your business.

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    Click through for 10 ways this hot technology can change your business.

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    Combine 20 or more servers into one. Not only do you save a bundle in hardware costs, but you’ll see tremendous gains in…

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    Less hardware means less power consumption. One of the main reasons many top enterprises have been able to cut their power costs so dramatically over the past few years is virtualization. Cutting down on hardware also improves…

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    "There are a couple of ways to measure server utilization. There are servers that sit idle waiting for useful work, and then there are servers running applications that are no longer needed or used by an organization and are considered orphaned or abandoned. The abandoned application can be moved to a virtual machine, the server decommissioned, and the space, power and cooling capacity recovered to support additional growth. CIOs should strive for an orphaned server percentage in the 1 to 2 percent range."-Mark E. Stumm, vice president of product marketing at performance management developer nlyte Software.

    Single-instance server environments have embarrassingly low utilization rates. A 10 percent rate is considered nominal even under heavy workloads, which means 90 percent of your hardware investment sits idle most of the time. Virtualization allows you to use more of what you already have, pushing capital expenditures further into the future.

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    "In order to reduce complexity and risk while improving productivity, an organization should manage physical and virtual environments holistically together in the same way. Management is a key component of a converged infrastructure-ensuring that customers can move beyond server virtualization with confidence-and to extend its many benefits across the data center. This allows customers to respond rapidly to the business by increasing the flexibility of their environments and speed time to application value." — Jeff Carlat, director of partner and platform software, infrastructure software and blades, HP Enterprise Business.

    Even though virtualization adds another layer of abstraction between hardware and applications/data, resource management is dramatically simplified compared to the physical environment. Chief advantages are found in…

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    "Virtualization presents two key challenges as it applies to application management — understanding the impact of resource sharing and ensuring that adequate resources are provided to support existing and new application workloads. The key to streamlining application environments is to first determine how the four core resources — CPU, memory, disk and network — support applications in the context of meeting performance, availability and service level objectives. Next, organizations need to understand the relationships and interactions between all the components in the virtual infrastructure and how the applications leverage them. Finally, with these dependencies understood, IT teams need to monitor the performance of each component supporting the application while correlating that data so that it’s consumable by service owners and others in IT management."-John Newsom, vice president and general management of application management at Quest Software.

    What once took hours can now be done in minutes. Not only can new servers be brought online quickly, but they can be broken down, rearranged, reassigned and redeployed to suit the needs of the moment. And that greatly improves…

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    "Virtual servers that are well-managed provide customers with a ‘fluidity’ of resource pools that enable rapid response to varying workload requirements. This results in a reduction in operating costs and increased productivity, allowing organizations to focus on services that deliver business value and not just keeping the lights on in the data center." — Jeff Carlat, director of partner and platform software, infrastructure software and blades, HP Enterprise Business.

    The ability to shift virtual machines around opens the possibility to redirect data loads according to business needs rather than IT requirements. Loads can be balanced evenly over multiple physical locations, or concentrated on just a few, so idle machines can be powered down. This is possible through…

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    "Through a seamless automation platform, companies are able to leverage the benefits of virtualization as well as execute faster provisioning of infrastructure or applications. Automation solutions can replace labor-intensive processes with consistent, automated workflows that can save thousands in workflow costs and reduce the risk of error." — Jeff Carlat, director of partner and platform software, infrastructure software and blades, HP Enterprise Business

    Your ability to automate many of the more tedious jobs of IT management is greatly improved because virtual resources now reside in the more ethereal software realm. In fact, tasks like data mapping, mirroring and backup will have to be automated because the virtual environment is so fluid.

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    Once you’ve gone virtual within the data center, it’s only a matter of time before you extend those capabilities to the outside world. Whether you opt for internal, external or hybrid cloud services, none of it is possible without the ability to virtualize physical resources.

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    A virtual environment can be up and running much faster than a physical one. As long as physical infrastructure is intact, provisioning and automation systems can have service restored in a matter of minutes. Not only does this improve recovery point objectives, but it lowers the overall cost of getting back on your feet.

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    "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) provides an alternative solution for traditional desktop environments, providing IT teams with the flexibility to quickly deliver and refresh desktops, reduces the threat of potential data loss or theft, lowers the complexity and cost of desktop management, and provides end users with the functionality of a standalone desktop." — Jeff Carlat, director of partner and platform software, infrastructure software and blades, HP Enterprise Business.

    Once virtualization has been introduced to the server farm, similar principles can be applied to the storage farm, I/O infrastructure and the desktop. The idea of creating many out of one promises to extend efficiency and boost performance across a wide range of systems, resulting in a leaner, meaner data center.

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