Feeds

Management vs. the virtual server

A look at how the industry is moving to abstraction

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

LinuxWorld Virtualization is certainly creating a lot of buzz in the industry, but despite the technology's hefty promises of cost cutting and consolidation, the vast majority of businesses are still running on physical hardware.

Headshot of Tony IamsTony Iams, senior analyst of enterprise IT research firm Ideas International has been busy sniffing around the data centers to get a feel for how the emerging technology is changing the way IT works. Ideas interviewed around 50 companies of various sizes that have deployed virtualization. The firm focused both on businesses using the industry-standard x86 platform as well as other classes of systems such as Unix, IBM's System i and mainframes.

At a LinuxWorld panel in San Francisco today, Iams explained the motivations for companies to move to a virtual platform and the pitfalls that arise from making the switch.

The dangling carrot

Ideas found the push towards virtualization is largely a bottom-up affair. The people in the IT department most often want to implement the technology to make their lives easier rather than a CFO demanding virtualization to save money.

How virtualization is actually implemented is generally split between x86 and UNIX servers. According to Iams, x86 virtualization is typically driven by large-scale consolidation - where a business has several fixed workload servers and want to stack them on virtual machines to have fewer boxes to maintain.

Unix virtualization, on the other hand, is driven by workload management and utilization. Where previously the IT staff would buy a large server configured for the peak workload of an application, virtualization allows the resources to be dynamically changed based on demand without shutting it down.

Few businesses interviewed were deploying storage virtualization. Most found, after crunching the numbers, that it wasn't worth the effort, and opted to buy more, traditional, storage devices.

Breaking even

For x86 platforms, the break-even point of consolidation is five-six servers. If a business is moving less than that onto a machine, they're spending more on virtualization software than they are saving on reducing infrastructure.

For Unix systems with variable workloads, being able to configure an application for average usage rather than peak times saves money if three or more can be put into a box running a virtual environment.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: Mysterious savings

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box
Only 250th most powerful in the world? Bring back Michael Fish
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
Cisco and friends chase WiFi's searing speeds with new cable standard
Cat 5e and Cat 6 are bottlenecks for WLAN access points
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.