Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping Virtualization Costs Down

Virtualization itself is a technology that considerably lowers IT operating costs. Right at the start, multiple servers can be launched and operated without the need for additional hardware. Then come energy savings, the ease and speed of use for users and administrators, and many more economic benefits.  What could actually cause virtualization operating costs to rise?

Virtual machines depend on numerous innovations to operate. A group of VMs all utilize a common hardware platform, to which data is saved and from which it is read. Hence if there are any issues with I/O operations, every virtual machine based in that hardware will be affected.

Issues with I/O read and write operations are some of the top barriers to computer system performance, physical or virtual. But due to the fact that an I/O must pass through multiple layers in a virtual environment, such issues can have an even more profound impact with VMs.

In addition to general slow performance caused by I/O bottlenecks—leading to sluggish speed of VMs, slowed or stalled backups and other major problems—troubles with I/Os are also responsible for other issues that might not so readily be associated with them. For example, because of the excessive I/O activity, hardware life is decreased by 50 percent or more. In that the hardware is the host for VMs, attention to hardware life is crucial.

Also particular to virtual environments is the symptom of slow virtual migration. The task of migrating servers from physical to virtual (known as P2V) or from one type of virtual machine to another is a basic operation in virtual environments. The slowing down of this process can be cumbersome, especially if users or processes are waiting for the new virtual machine. As with the other issues listed above, slow virtual migration can be traced directly to issues with I/O operations.

Because of the many innovations inherent in a virtual environment, a comprehensive virtual platform disk optimizer is required as the solution. The number of I/Os required to read and write files are drastically and automatically reduced. But also solved is coordination of I/O resources, and the address of virtual disk “bloat”—a situation that occurs due to excessive I/Os, and for which there is no other solution.

Issues with I/O operations raise operating costs within a virtual environment across the boards. A virtual platform disk optimizer is the key to keeping them under control.

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