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Veering into Virtualization

Phoebe Magdirila | May 15, 2012
With the increasing challenges of maintaining numerous servers, coupled with the high cost of keeping a robust data center, small and medium businesses are now seeking alternative solutions to keep their IT systems and infrastructure less costly while still being efficient, and at a healthy pace against competition.

To answer this concern, the IT departments "still need to manage [virtual machines] like you would on physical servers; small, medium or large," states Microsoft's Garcia. Schneider Electric's De Sousa agrees to this statement and says that such will only happen if one has a host fail without redundancy.

Business continuity and data security are just two of the reasons why IT managers should ensure duplication of virtual machines. In the same survey of Acronis, 33% admit that they don't back up their virtual machines as often as their physical ones, 49% back up either weekly or monthly and just 37% back up on a daily basis.

President for Asia Pacific, Bill Taylor- Mountford feels alarmed by these practices and notes that "protecting data is a fundamental requirement and a best practice for any business of any size today." Mountford reiterates that if this is continually overlooked, companies are soon to face "very real consequences that may adversely impact their business." These impacts can limit or compromise "the broad benefits of virtualization and the cloud," adds Schneider Electric's De Sousa.

To mitigate such risks before it further complicates, "the key is to ensure that the virtualization software meets corporate security policies and ensures regulatory compliance," relates VMware's Batka.


Given that virtualization is offered by various vendors with added assistance, some IT teams have relied on their support to keep this technology in good running condition. Both Aboitiz' Cristobal and Phelps Dodge's Garcia reveal that they have been dependent on vendors as a starter in having this technology. "We don't have enough technical knowledge yet, we are just dependent on the vendors right now," relates Phelps Dodge's Garcia.

However, a company cannot jump headlong into any decision which can alter the company's performance in game for years to come. Enough study of the pros and cons will lead to a decision. The perhaps the foremost question what must a company know prior to availing of virtualization services?

"The initial step is to assess if the current business applications are capable to operate in virtualized environments. Though virtualization technologies have been out for some time, there are still a large number of deployed business applications that are not ready," advises DataOne Asia Philippines Directors for Operations, Alex Fernando. "The company should also determine what virtualization technology is appropriate for their environment. This task will require inputs from people well versed in virtualization and have already deployed or migrated standalone server based applications into virtualized environments."

Further, Fernando also notes that numerous virtualizations platforms are available today and an expert's advice may be needed to determine the right technology for the company. "Hardware (server) resources must be sized adequately in order to avoid under-configured or over-sized platforms," says Fernando. Similarly, Schneider's De Sousa advices IT teams who are planning to deploy virtualization to "understand the technology first." As businesses have varying requirements, CIOs themselves should be able to assess their needs and see the advantage and disadvantages of the technology.


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