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Accounting for Virtualization Head Room


While the cloud is not a fad, clients continue to operate within a physical data center.   I’ve often said that the cloud isn’t for everybody so there are valid reasons to stay in the data centers rather than moving to a cloud platform of your choice.  However, if you are planning on expanding your environment to include a better virtualization foundation, regardless of the underlying hypervisor, make sure that you do not forget to allow additional resources.

Business Headroom

Organizations typically grow 20% year to year in compute needs.  This means as time marches forward organizations need to have the ability expand their current infrastructure to accommodate for that growth.  If that growth isn’t accounted for, additional hardware purchases will be in the near future.  This becomes costly.

If you are gathering requirements for a new hardware purchase, make sure to pad the final numbers by at least 10% if not 20%.  This will help to ensure that the new hardware has much needed room to accommodate your business as it grows.

Host Headroom

Did you make sure to account for additional head room on the host itself?  If your business is going to grow 20%, the physical host running your hypervisor might be tapped out of resources right out of the gate.   Just as you need to leave enough head space for the business to grow, the individual host machines need room to grow as well.   If you don’t, you’ll be right back purchasing new hardware.

HA/DR Headroom

Anytime an organization is looking to purchase new hardware, it is the optimal time to examine the current state of both high availability and disaster recovery.   Depending on how HA/DR is defined for the organization as well as its current implementation can alter the budget for the new hardware.  For example, if you are running SQL Server, any true high availability solution requires at least two individual machines (virtual or physical).  Technically, one of those machines could reside in another data center or a cloud platform depending on business requirements and other items such as network latency.  If the cloud isn’t an option, then both of those machines have to reside within the physical data center, which consume more resources.  The same holds true for a disaster recovery scenario, although Dr is easier accomplished with less intrusive solution such as log shipping off-site.  Whether the secondary machine is in a data center or the cloud, hardware resources have to be accounted for and budgeted.

Planning any type of move that includes new hardware or new HA/DR solutions needs to be carefully architected.  Virtualization helps with a number of issues, however, if you forget to account for all of the solution components, it could be difficult to recover.


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