Everyone in IT circles understands the appeal of virtualized servers. Having a virtualized data center transforms IT assets into more agile, efficient and scalable solutions. A single physical server can support multiple virtual machines, each running its own operating system and applications, so consolidating physical servers into fewer virtual servers lets businesses reduce spending on hardware, energy and floor space.
Because virtualized server platforms are becoming more powerful and capable of hosting more virtual machines, IT faces a new set of challenges, such as the rapid deployment of these virtual servers, migration, remote management, power management and performance monitoring across the physical and virtual environments.
Click through for virtualization challenges facing IT today, as identified by HP.
Without the right planning and oversight, it's possible to get too much of a good thing. Some IT organizations may be exchanging data center sprawl only for virtual server sprawl. It's easy to provision virtualized servers, which leads to their rapid proliferation. Some physical servers may be over utilized, whereas others are underutilized, simply because the underlying performance characteristics of the actual hardware are overlooked.
As IT implements greater numbers of VMs per physical server, it also needs to pay particular attention to its redundancy architecture. If a one-application legacy server goes down, for example, the extent of the issue will be well defined, but if a server that houses 20 VMs goes down, that will be a much bigger issue for the IT staff to manage while ensuring business continuity.
As organizations turn to virtualized servers, they need to ensure everything interoperates smoothly as they scale up. This should involve a systematic approach that brings all server, storage and networking resources together into a common pool. It also brings together management tools, policies and processes so resources and applications are managed in a holistic, integrated manner.
As the number of VMs on a physical server increases, processing activity goes up. Another key issue with virtual servers involves the ability to monitor the level of server utilization and adjust parameters to optimize power consumption. Administrators need to be notified of thermal conditions so that risk is reduced. Intelligent controls can monitor heat and memory usage to better optimize power use. System fans, for example, can be powered up or down individually, based on the thermal readings.
What administrators need to overcome the challenges presented by virtualized servers is an integrated set of software tools that manage both physical and virtual servers, enabling organizations to deploy servers quickly, proactively monitor server health and performance, optimize power and take complete control remotely — all with seamless integration into enterprise management platforms from hypervisor vendors such as Microsoft and VMware.