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To Virtualize or Not To Virtualize?

I had a situation recently discussing a configuration with a client where they preferred to not deploy a particular workload as a virtual machine. Their logic was actually quite sound in the process; a few of their points are outlined as follows:

  • They were high experts on the application and they can redeploy it easily.
  • The application required a lot of CPU and RAM resources, and they wanted to avoid that impact on their cluster.
  • The application has a clustering feature.
  • The costs were effectively indifferent.

The process they went through was thorough, and it didn't involve some of the frequent reasons that people decide not to virtualize. Those are usually licensing, vendor support or plain fear of the unknown. The important thing to note on this situation is that while they didn't quite hit 100-percent virtual in their data center (they were in the high 90s in terms of systems virtualized) they met all of the requirements for availability and management.

A lot of us have embarked on the virtualization journey for benefits such as increased availability, cost savings, better utilization and increased management. If you can meet these key initiatives without using virtualization, it's not entirely taboo to pass on leveraging virtualization.

This certainly wasn't a unique situation. I'm sure all of us have been there in some form. In fact, in my professional virtualization practice I still have certain scenarios where I recommend certain systems and components to be physical when a fully separate cluster isn't an option. A good example of this is the vCenter Server system. I've installed the vCenter Server that manages a production cluster in a VM that is on the development cluster. It's also important to make sure that VM runs on a separate network, SAN and possibly even a separate location.

In the situation I had where it didn't make sense to virtualize the application, there was a clear preference to virtualize the rest of the data center. So much so, that for all other systems it is a requirement that it be deployed as a VM. That's generally my preference as well, as I'm sure is yours.

What situations have you avoided virtualizing systems? What is your logic in the process? Share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 10/09/2013 at 3:27 PM


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