IT Insights

6 Essential virtualization tips for businesses

Virtualization is a boon for businesses, granting them computing capacity beyond the limits of their hardware. This advantage offers the potential to scale easily without being held back by expensive hardware costs. Virtualization redefines a computer’s hardware capacity through software, making it easy to allocate processing power, memory, and storage space to other devices connected to the network. Such flexibility allows computers to run resource-intensive applications and ensure reliable performance, while reducing costs. Virtualization is a fairly nuanced technology, but its benefits are undeniable. To make sure you get the most out of this technology, follow these tips.

1. Check your hardware

When considering virtualization for your organization’s IT infrastructure, it’s important to gauge whether you have enough available resources. Take stock of your organization’s IT environment. Aside from hardware-related capabilities, network bandwidth is one of the most important resources. Go over the different apps your employees need and check their hardware requirements. Then confirm your organization’s servers have enough processing power, RAM, network capacity, and storage to run all the apps. Don’t forget to check for software-hardware compatibility issues. Newer software should be compatible with virtualized operating systems, not outdated systems may present problems. To ensure compatibility, refer to the software vendor’s hardware compatibility list.

2. Seek a third-party assessment

An IT assessment performed by a managed services provider (MSP) will reveal which type of virtualization solution your organization needs and what your IT infrastructure can handle. For example, an MSP may recommend desktop virtualization if your main goal is cutting costs on employee computers. This flavor of virtualization allows you to replace their desktops with bargain basement computers that connect to your server for additional storage and processing power. Building and maintaining virtual infrastructures will also require a lot of IT expertise. Virtualization specialists can help you with this process and resolve configuration issues to ensure a seamless implementation.

3. Track performance

MSPs can also provide ongoing maintenance and cloud-based monitoring services. If you lack the in-house virtualization expertise, an outsourced IT provider will make sure that everything from network paths to storage locations work properly and notify network administrators in the event of any irregularities. Network monitoring, in particular, can also detect glitches that occur as a result of virtualization. Ask your service provider to perform regular system audits to ensure your organization network is operating smoothly and at peak efficiency.

4. Monitor virtual machine lifecycles

Virtual Machines (VM) are effectively files that contain operating systems, programs, settings, and portion of computing resources from the main host server. Technicians can easily create VMs to run specific applications or to back up files in a secure, isolated environment. However, there is such a thing as too many VMs. A VM consumes server resources, and too many VMs can overload a system or complicate licensing and asset management. Sprawl prevention is essential and usually managed with policies and restrictions on VM creation. Your organization must also monitor VM life cycles, from creation to end. If you’re not careful, a VM that is barely ever used could be draining up resources. Alternatively one with out-of-date or inefficient configurations could still be in rotation. When these things creep up, VMs must be put to rest.

5. Protect your system

This means establishing a multi-level security system. That includes encrypted backups to protect your business data from data breaches, malware, human error, and even natural disasters. You should also place tight physical security around servers, such as keycard-access rooms and CCTV. Monitor all traffic, virtual and non-virtual. Most importantly, implement a backup server which stores copies of your VMs.

6. Don’t virtualize everything

Virtualization may provide savings and efficient resource use, but some things are not suitable for a virtual environment and will use up resources needlessly. These include anything that prevents virtualization due to license agreements and applications that have not been tested. If you need detailed guidance on these tips and are considering virtualization for your infrastructure, contact our experts at SabioIT.

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