Gone are the days when VMware virtualization was a pure consolidation play. Increasingly, IT managers bitten by the virtualization bug now host their most performance-intensive applications on ESX, arguing that the improved availability and manageability justify the cost and performance overhead of a VMware license.
Last year, U.K.-based University of Plymouth upgraded its 56,000-seat Microsoft Exchange environment from Exchange 2003 on physical boxes to Exchange 2007 on VMware ESX.
According to Adrian James, the infrastructure and operations manager at the university, the project was a wash financially. "We probably spent about the same as we would have if we had deployed on physical boxes, but we have a much better service in terms of the functionality we have," he said.Upgrading Exchange was part of a larger infrastructure overhaul that implemented storage virtualization and IP telephony, upgraded networking infrastructure and replaced desktop devices. As part of that project, James and his team also brought in VMware to improve server utilization, consolidating 280-plus servers down to 30 ESX hosts.