Virtualization has been rising in popularity with IT for several years, with much of the interest being fueled by how the technology can save money and improve operational security.
But the factors involved in migrating to virtualization also include thorough IT training, cost of implementation and whether to develop a system in-house or outsource the project. All of these factors come into play when addressing return on investment (ROI).
Not surprisingly, experts say maximizing returns requires careful planning upfront, including estimations on how long it will take to achieve ROI and what additional steps will be necessary to maintain it over the long term.
According to virtualization leader VMware, consolidating hardware through virtualization can reduce hardware and maintenance costs by 50 percent or more. Virtualization also increases efficiency by eliminating the need to setup a new server every time new applications are deployed, resulting in fewer technical issues and reducing routine maintenance time by an estimated two-thirds.
Costly hours lost from unplanned downtime are also reduced with a marked improvement on disaster recovery options. Securing company assets benefits from virtualization as well, with the ability to quickly move virtual machines from one host server to another—allowing quicker implementation of security patches for the hosts and less downtime for the VMs.
The decision on whether to develop a virtualization plan in-house or outsource it to a growing list of service providers also depends on a number of factors, including maintenance and minimizing downtime. Having a system in-house using virtual private servers (VPSs) provides more control, with the ability to cater to specific needs on-the-fly and address emergent problems more directly. But managers should also consider ongoing maintenance and security issues as well as future expenditures on upgrades and management software that may be necessary to stay competitive.
A major advantage of outsourcing is the ability to have systems running offsite on redundant infrastructures. Outsourcing also saves money by saving IT hours that would otherwise be required to run a system—a factor that is particularly appealing to rapidly growing businesses more interested in focusing on their core business areas and not on IT management. However, while building a VPS housing location can initially cost more than long-term outsourcing, handling the technology in-house theoretically saves money over time.
William Van Winkle has been a full-time tech writer and author since 1998. He specializes in a wide range of coverage areas, including unified communications, virtualization, Cloud Computing, storage solutions and more. William lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and 2.4 kids, and—when not scrambling to meet article deadlines—he enjoys reading, travel, and writing fiction.