Augmenting and modernizing virtualization addresses several practical concerns. In this post, I focus on how it can save time and effort associated with managing infrastructure as well as cutting down on infrastructure costs directly.

Saving time and money is probably the most traditional and long-running IT concern tackled by virtualization modernization. Today’s new IT technologies tend to focus on pace of change and customer-facing benefits. (Indeed, virtualization modernization helps in these areas as well, as I described in an earlier post.) However, talk to IT managers and neither CAPEX nor OPEX are ever far from the conversation.

Concerns about costs and return on investment are pervasive throughout IT even if they are often less front-and-center when deploying new capabilities in a cloud native or “Mode 2” (to use Gartner’s terminology) fashion. Gartner itself notes that “The common mistake is to remove all cost controls in a bid to make Mode 2 quicker and more responsive, although having no controls equals higher costs without the intrinsic value benefit.” (Bimodal IT Mode 2: Use Simple Controls to Reduce Cost Exposure and Drive Greater Value, April 2015)

However, efficiency--together with stability and reliability--is paramount when modernizing or extending existing IT infrastructure and applications. Toward that end, you can modernize virtualization to save time and money.

Many of today’s virtualized infrastructures are not operated as densely as they could be. IDC’s Al Gillen noted at Directions 2016 in April that, “VM density is stalling at about 10 VMs per server and somewhere between 30 to 50 percent utilization.” This is certainly an improvement over the 10 to 15 percent utilizations that were frequently quoted for physical servers pre-virtualization, but it’s not as high as it could be.

At the same time, having a higher density of VMs isn’t useful if they’re sitting idle or not being properly managed.

Idle VMs on-premise don’t have the same direct cost impact as when they’re running on a public cloud and the meter is ticking. Nonetheless, uncontrolled VM proliferation can cause VM sprawl and dramatically increase resource consumption and costs, which wastes storage, consumes server capacity and network bandwidth, and can incur additional software expenses.

Red Hat CloudForms provides the ability to manage VMs throughout their life cycle, from provisioning through operation and eventually to VM retirement. Managing and tracking VMs from discovery and creation through retirement is essential to avoiding VM sprawl and keeping any virtual environment well-managed and optimized. CloudForms automatically discovers, assesses, classifies, monitors, and tracks VMs in any state—powered on, off, or suspended— without installing any agents.

This level of automation leads to the more efficient use of infrastructure. It also means that a given administrator can handle more physical and virtual servers--and can do so more repeatedly.

CloudForms also provides IT administrators and managers with advanced capacity planning and sophisticated resource management capabilities, including trending and alerting. By combining extensive configuration and change information — and operational event data with utilization and performance statistics — the product addresses both quantitative and qualitative management requirements needed by enterprises to get the most out of their infrastructure investment with lower overall costs.

In general, automation and policy-based management allows administrators to focus on setting up workflows and policies up-front rather than dealing with them again and again on an ongoing basis. I’ve covered a number of the ways in which CloudForms can help with this. I’ll be taking a closer look at security features and compliance in the next post in this series. Like cost and efficiency, this is a long time IT mandate. However, it’s more top of mind than ever as systems have become more interconnected while simultaneously having to deal with an increasingly hostile threat landscape.


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Gordon Haff is a technology evangelist and has been at Red Hat for more than 10 years. Prior to Red Hat, as an IT industry analyst, Gordon wrote hundreds of research notes, was frequently quoted in publications such as The New York Times on a wide range of IT topics, and advised clients on product and marketing strategies.

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Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.

Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Award-winning support, training, and consulting services make Red Hat a trusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organizations prepare for the digital future.

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