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back to article Virtualisation soaks up corporate IT love

Virtualisation is the in-thing in corporate IT. You’d think it was some kind of shiny new concept that had never been done before, a panacea for all computing ills. Everyone seems to be doing it. It’s not even restricted to servers any more. Suppliers and customers are both getting excited about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure …

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Licensing

When is El Reg planning to start criticizing VSphere 5's new licensing model?

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vsphere 5.0 licensing

You mean this? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/13/vmware_esxi_5_0_analysis/

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Virtual expert?

I wonder if the author of this article has actually ever implemented a Virtual infrastructure. Firstly you don't have to loose all your client machines whilst updating a host - you migrate them on to another one, it takes minutes. Secondly, you don't virtualise services that require high end performance so sharing resources with all the other clients on a host is not an issue.

'virtualising your server will make it no quicker '! It is not supposed to be. You virtualise to create more density in your datacenter (rack space and cabling costs money too you know) and to make management easier.

I agree that Virtualising services shouldn't be your only strategy but it has certainly saved a lot of time (that costs money too btw), energy and space for a lot of companies. Perhaps that is why so many of them do it

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"It's great for network admins too"

There are 2 places where virtualisation really helps.

1) in freeing up rack space at a busy datacentre - all those extra cores are useful because they can be treated as vCPUs and you can shrink the physical size of your infrastructure, taking down power and cooling requirement. Screw any global environmental effect, it means you don't have to buy more space or electricity to expand.

2) in reducing the amount of time required to manage the OS's which means the same amount of bodies can administer a much larger number of images than they could physically, meaning no new bodies to be hired.

The cost of site rental, power and especially people keep going up, the cost of physical hardware keeps steady (while capacity goes up) so longer term, virtualisation makes complete sense.

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Virtualisation, like everything, has pros and cons

First off, let's be honest here. ISYS's comment "Secondly, you don't virtualise services that require high end performance so sharing resources with all the other clients on a host is not an issue." doesn't tally with what the virtualisation providers advertise. For example, from VMWare's site:

"Run Business Critical Applications with Confidence

Deliver better application performance and availability with less complexity at a lower cost.

Scalability and Performance

With 4x more powerful VM’s, vSphere supports the most resource-intensive applications."

Of course VMWare wants everything you have to run virtualised hardware, that's VMWare's job. Additionally, sharing resources with all the other clients on a host is always an issue. For a start that's why you're supposed to stuff your new servers full of RAM.

I do see that there are pros to virtualisation and certainly in the "longer term" it makes increasing amounts of sense but right now the con does seem to look a lot like "throw out your stuff and buy new stuff". If your current stuff works, great. All the benefits of reduced power use and server space rental *need* to pay for themselves between licence renewals because there's no "it's better now" advantage in virtualisation. It's not supposed to make your server quicker. Your users aren't getting more done because you bought a few new servers and an often surprising number of software licences and that's a massive failing in a technology upgrade.

Spending money solely for the purpose of saving money needs to be done very, very carefully.

You should never forget that all of these trends (why hasn't your business virtualised / switched to Mac / upgraded from XP / let us install and support Linux / gone paperless etc etc) are advertised precisely because someone intends to make money out of you. The companies selling virtualisation software, as companies, don't really care if virtualisation is right for your situation.

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