Monday, November 27, 2006

Get Virtualization Without Getting It

There are some good signs that server virtualization has gotten out of the early adopter phase and into the mainstream. Generally, this change happens when the exchange of pieces of papers with pictures of dead presidents on them can be increased or decreased. Yes! We are talking about money.

For starters, it looks like virtualization coupled with blade servers have the potential to reduce the complexity of your IT environment, potentially cutting the number of your servers in half. If you "get" this, you will be able to reduce your maintenence time and hardware costs.

Furthermore, PS&G is now offering rebates for every server that is converted to run in a virtual environment. The savings is substantial, up to
4 million dollars per customer. Again, if you "get" this, PSE&G is paying you to conserve energy, as virtualization runs more efficiently. People, this is free money - just make sure you apply before you start your virtualization project.

That's two ways to "get it"; here's another, more painful, way to "get" it. Apparently some outsourcers are saving a bundle of cash on virtualizing their servers, but still charging customer on a per server basis. Since it only takes 10 minutes to set up a virtual server as compared to 10 days for the typical "hard server", the margins on this are huge. Let's hope you are not "getting it" this way.

The biggest challenge will be to actually get your IT staff to "get" it, since you are basically going to reduce their hardware budget and (ultimately) staffing related to server mangement. They may feel that by "getting" it, their team will be "getting" it, and you will hear all sorts of mumbo-jumbo related to increased risk, sacrificing the existing level of service, etc. The key here is to have a green IT strategy where you focus on reducing your maintenance costs and put your IT people into more strategic endeavors such as solar, wind, etc. By doing this, they don't have to worry about "getting" it without "getting" it, and you can move forward by reducing costs. Get it?

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