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When Virtualizing, take everything into account!

Why else do you think that it may seem to be such a scary scenario to many wanting to put virtualization in their production. We all know how it goes; test and development environments are all taken rather "less seriously". Companies romance with it, IT staff has something tp play around with and production can wait till the real standard has been established.

While this might take longer time than the virtualization vendors may want, this is the reality. We are expecting the server virtualization sales to grow from $ 800 M to atleast $ 7 Bn. But I want ot ask some serious questions in the virtualization conference , where I will be speaking at the strategy session to CxOs and IT managers, sure IT admins should also sit in the hall. I would want to ask simple things like:

  • VM backup: You've virtualized, did you cover up the backup scenario?
  • Security: How did you do it?
  • Apps: Have you really tested/becnhmarked your apps on the Virtual platforms?
  • You are in the test and development, how seriously do you work there? Think ITIL, CMDB, ITSM, SLA, etc
  • Internalization + Externalization: How are you managing the change transition?
  • Is there a change of minds and hearts, both inside and outside the "perimeter"?*
  • When are you really going in production? A deadline
* This is a crucial question and you can expect a long discussion within an IT organization.

Anyways, the link talks about the I/O issue with the VMs, where one VM can mean death to others.

CW's Jeroen says:

The problem is that VM workloads can become abnormal. Spikes in read or write I/O on one VM may immediately adversely affect the I/O performance of other VMs hosted by that physical server. Equally problematic are backups, especially full server backups. Backing up a single VM can quickly congest network pipes and degrade the performance of other VMs on that server.

There are two new ways that companies can use to address this issue. One is to use intelligent Ethernet network interface cards (NIC) and Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBA) that create virtual NICs and virtual HBAs. These cards assign specific virtual NICs and virtual HBAs to each VM, which then logs into Ethernet or Fibre Channel networks using these unique IDs. Administrators may then set policies that limit that VM's bandwidth consumption based on these VM identifiers.

Check out CW (I did get an impression that InfiniBand was being promoted as the solution, but hey, if they have something to offer that resolves the issue, why not!)

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