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How Virtual Are You?

In virtualization circles, conversations usually go like this: "What's your name?", "Where are you from?" and the much harder to answer question of "How are you using virtualization?"

When it comes to describing virtualization in terms of virtualized desktops and servers, it can be tricky. Desktops can logically be defined as a group such as a call center or remote workforce. Quantifying server virtualization can be easy or not easy. I'd love to say that I am 100 percent virtual for all servers, but I can't quite say that.

What I can do is quantify my percentage of virtualized servers in terms of eligible systems. It is easier to determine an eligible system by defining an ineligible system. An ineligible system is one that cannot be made virtual for one of the following reasons:

  • The application vendor does not support virtualization. They are out there, unfortunately.
  • A piece of hardware which cannot be virtualized. USB devices can be virtualized, however.
  • The server is located in an environment (data center) that does not have a virtualized environment available to it. The best example in this case is a remote site with a limited infrastructure footprint.

With these ground rules, I will make statements like "I am one system away from being 100 percent VMware virtualized in data center X for all eligible server systems." In most situations, infrastructure heroics can't change the hard-stop issues of the above three scenarios with the exception of the small data center. It doesn't make sense to me yet to have a hypervisor with one virtual server on it, even with direct attached storage. A remote site with two servers is a different story.

How do you answer the question: "How virtual are you?" Share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 06/10/2010 at 12:47 PM


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