If you are not running VMware, or a competitive product like Microsoft Hyper Visor, Oracle Virtual box etc etc, it’s 2011 and for the majority of small enterprises in Canada, there are no more excuses. It’s pretty unlikely that the IT systems in a small to medium enterprise could not be at least partially virtualised if all you are running is file and print, internal web portals, light duty databases, a fifty user email system and so forth. Your milage may vary, but the benefits are too big to ingore entirely.
In a word, server virtualization “rocks”. Koolaid drinking aside, VMware has lead the charge to change the impact of a major problem in IT data centers every where, computer chassis sprawl, and the rack space, cooling and power issues that implied.
The big shops traded chassis sprawl for virtual server sprawl, less envirnomental impact but in someways it actually makes the “skunk works to production”* process easier. License costs are now a problem, but that is someone’s department. As long as there is free SAN disk and server template, party on and build that new server for two folks in asset managment that want this tricked out sharepoint site all to themselves.
There is now an industry of tools build around managing the virtual server sprawl, complete with billing apps, to eventually bring these problems back to the desk of those causing them. While this is great for a company of 5,000 this would just be a waste of money for a company of 25-50, even 150 people. In these shops the I.T. department is usually one or two people, or even a third party service provider, and adding a new server to the company is a lot harder to hide.
For the small to medium business, and we mean I.T. size, not sales or bank account size, there are a few very affordable virtualiztion solutions. If free fits well into your I.T. budget, then VMware ESXi or Microsoft HyperV are pretty good main stream solutions with lots of capability. Should the day come when sales are through the roof, and you now have a larger I.T. budget then porting these free solutions to the commercial versions is not as painful as a wholesale platform change.
Smaller than SMB are the I.T. consultants, our equipment budgets are usually subsidized with the cast offs from our customers when they upgrade. VMware workstation and server have been a godsend for testing solutions and doing research. Like every one else, the need for systems eventually out strips the avaliable resources and we need to buy a new virutalization host. Check out the lab pages for th fun of moving live machines from an old server to new, without commercial tools like VMotion.
*Stay tuned for the future articles on application rationalization.