4 steps to take before virtualizing servers

By now, you’ve likely heard a lot about the benefits of virtualization. But is your company ready to take advantage?

Virtualization can let companies save on hardware and power consumption, and make management easier, by consolidating several virtual servers onto a few physical machines.

The promises a new virtualization implementation offer can be tough to resist for cash-strapped companies. But moving into this area too soon can be costly.

Here are four things businesses must do before they virtualize:

  1. Assess the server environment and determine which machines are good candidates for virtualization. Those are typically servers that use significantly less computing power than is available on the machine.
  2. Determine if current machines are powerful enough. Virtualization helps companies by letting them utilize the unused capacity on existing machines — and that means for it to work, those machines need to be powerful enough to house multiple virtual servers. If yours aren’t, make sure you prepare for the added cost of new servers.
  3. Figure out your storage needs. In many cases, companies have to upgrade to a centralized storage system in order to take advantage of some virtualization features, such as live migration.
  4. Determine how software licenses will be affected. License breaches can easily occur after companies virtualize, because it isn’t always clear how virtual machines will affect existing license agreements. Talk to software vendors and review agreements to determine if additional licenses will need to be purchased.

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