Not everyone has already made the leap from physical devices for each application. I'm about to embark on a physical to virtual project with one of my consulting clients. Over the next couple of days I'm going to explore some of the issues we think will need to be resolved in any P2V project.
Many businesses take a passive approach to planning their IT. Rather than setting out a specific strategy, they start with the least possible investment in technology and slowly add systems on an "as needs" basis. The problem is that after a few years, they're left with systems that aren’t properly secured with ad hoc backups and poor utilisation of storage and processing capacity.
When that happens, or looks like it's going to happen, it's time to take stock and evaluate what to do next. That's the position I'm in at the moment with a client. Several applications are running on separate desktop-class computers and the existing server platform used Microsoft Small Business Server – and the license limitations of that are now being hit.
So, what should I advise my client? Here's what I'm proposing.
We have about 10 applications running on a mix of Windows and Linux. Some of those applications collect in excess of 2GB of data each day. There's a need to get smarter about storage management and backups as well.
The proposed solution is based on a pair of physical servers running all the applications in a virtualised environment. There will be a storage appliance that communicates with the physical hosts. Data will be backed up to disk – the plan is to redeploy an existing server with some additional disk to make it the first tier of a backup solution. The disk-based system will be backed up to tape for offsite storage.
All of this is a reasonably non-controversial approach as far as our research and analysis reveals.
Over the next couple of days, we'll discuss how we chose a virtualisation platform and the journey we took with the business in getting them to see the business benefits – and not the technical reasons – of this solution.