Letting Microsoft Virtualize And Optimize Your Infrastructure - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
9/11/2008
06:24 PM
Roger Smith
Roger Smith
Commentary
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Letting Microsoft Virtualize And Optimize Your Infrastructure

Microsoft sees the adoption of virtualization technology accelerating at a blistering pace, from the desktop to the data center, in the next few years.

Microsoft sees the adoption of virtualization technology accelerating at a blistering pace, from the desktop to the data center, in the next few years.In a keynote address at the "Get Virtual Now" event last Monday, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said that SharePoint, its collaboration product, had been the fastest-growing product in the history of Microsoft, faster than Windows and faster than Office to a billion dollars. But Turner said Microsoft's new suite of virtualization products should break the record that SharePoint set just last year.

The "Get Virtual Now" event had a number of practical sessions designed to show how organizations can get started and create a project road map to adapt virtualization technologies, as well as how to use Microsoft assessment tools to reduce energy consumption and increase utilization of existing infrastructure.

In a session titled "Infrastructure Optimization with Virtualization," Eddie Hanif, director of Microsoft's Core IO Business Architectures, provided an overview of Microsoft virtualization solutions and the company's core infrastructure optimization model. Hanif explained how IT organizations can adopt Microsoft's model as a framework to overcome business and operational challenges in their IT environment and create something he called 'Dynamic IT' infrastructure to reduce cost, increase availability, and enable business agility. In doing this, he described a 4-stage IT maturity-model that progresses from a basic stage (with an uncoordinated, manual infrastructure) where IT is a cost center; to a standardized stage (a managed IT infrastructure with limited automation and knowledge capture) where IT is an efficient cost center; through a more advanced rational stage (a managed and consolidated IT infrastructure with extensive automation; knowledge captured and reused) where IT is a business enabler; to a final dynamic stage (with fully automated management, dynamic resource usage and business-linked SLAs -- all with automated knowledge capture and use) where IT is a strategic asset.

"Virtualization solutions can drive this progression," Hanif said by enabling business agility and reducing the TCO, or total cost of ownership, of IT assets, thereby increasing their availability. Hanif then walked through two different virtualization scenarios, one which used virtualization for IT server consolidation while the other used virtualization to improve business continuity.

According to Hanif, the 'low-hanging fruit' in many data centers is server consolidation. Server consolidation involves converting physical machines to virtual machines so you can consolidate the number of physical servers and reduce power consumption. Virtualization enhances business continuity by reducing maintenance and disaster impact by providing more options, such as the ability to shift workloads between servers and data protection regardless of operating system. All of which means business apps can run with higher availability.

Hanif concluded his hour-long session with demos of Microsoft's Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) that can analyze your IT infrastructure and determine the level of impact that virtualization would have on your IT shop. He also showed how to use the company's Virtualization ROI Tool to build the business case by calculating the financial value of implementing virtualization and to compare Microsoft's solution with other alternatives.

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