Data Center Consolidation and Virtualization are the buzzwords de jour in government IT today. The opportunity to virtualize large data centers within—and across—agencies offers a significant opportunity for cost reduction and performance/reliability enhancement.
Before you begin your virtualization project, here are eight tips about how to evaluate and plan for incorporating virtualization into your data center:
- Leverage your existing investment. It seems basic, but find out how to use the servers you already have to virtualize in your Data Center. Start with current resources to maximize return.
- Analyze costs. Ask yourself where budget dollars are allocated. Is the bulk of it on equipment, software, maintenance, staff or utilities? Plan your virtual approach to address specific cost issues.
- Identify ready targets for virtualization. Virtualization starts with your hardware architecture. The next important question is whether your underlying applications were written to be virtualized. Do they currently support clustering or are there tools that enable them to be clustered? Can your application be replicated in real time so that data remains current? If not, work on virtualizing your applications before moving forward.
- Plan your growth. Make sure your virtualization plan accommodates the long-term capacity and performance needs of your agency. Given government’s demands, a virtualization solution must scale non-disruptively. Proactive planning also keeps your management costs down.
- Scrutinize you management plans and educate staff. For all the talk about a “virtual environment,” the fact is that the expertise of your staff still determines infrastructure performance. Be sure you can implement increasingly complex virtualized layers without needing more staff to manage them. Also – take steps to ensure that your staff is trained with the skills they need to manage a virtual environment efficiently.
- Check your security. Virtualization introduces a new set of security issues. With government agencies, security is a significant imperative. Agencies must secure virtual machines first as physical machines, then secure the virtual environment as well.
- Create a comprehensive plan. Any government virtualization plan must provide a flexible architecture and phased approach. That plan should include stringent tests for security, performance and data protection.
- Enjoy the Benefits of Green. Going Green is one of the side benefits of a virtual architecture. This is especially critical given the Federal imperative to “move to green” operations across all agencies.
Data center virtualization will significantly improve the productivity, flexibility and costs associated with the increasing volume of data and applications supported by Government IT. By following the above tips, your agency can reduce costs without sacrificing performance or reliability.