Virtualisation seems to be the hot word of the year for all businesses large and small, and as everyone seems to concentrate on deciding whether VMware is better than Microsoft HyperV, often driven by the media, they might overlook one of the major pitfalls in moving to virtual – the lack of forward planning.
Many organisations invest only a small amount of money and time investigating solutions, but choosing one which is tailored to the business rather than investing in the coolest, latest or cheapest product on the market can save organisations from the illusion of cost-effectiveness.
The second mistake organisations often make is to put together the virtual environment quite quickly for testing purposes, which then almost without anyone realising becomes production or live due to demands in the market to keep up with the rest of the business, or because of the IT department using the new and only partly tested environment as a way to provision services rapidly in order to gain a “quick win” with the rest of the business.
But a system that is not planned and correctly tested is often not set for success. My advice would be to plan, plan and then plan some more.
I suggest organisations that are thinking about virtualising their system undertake a capacity planning exercise. They should start by accurately analysing the existing infrastructure; this gives the business the necessary information required to correctly scope the hardware required for a virtual environment, and in turn provides the necessary information for licensing.
Do not go from “testing of a new technology” on to a “live/production environment” without sufficient testing and understanding of the technology, or the inefficiencies could damage business continuity and the quality of services.
All in all, I advice organisations that are not specifically of the IT sector to engage a certified partner company to assist with design and planning and, equally importantly, undertake certified training courses to prepare staff to work with the new system.