Virtualized data centers are increasing in popularity, and it’s projected that this trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Virtualization has numerous benefits including cost reduction because of energy and maintenance expenses, improved disaster recovery, faster processing times, and integration with cloud computing. For all of its benefits, there are also several challenges that come along with virtualization that need to be overcome if virtualization is going to be a long-lasting success. Some of the challenges traditional virtualization presents IT departments are managing multiple virtualized machines, prioritizing importance of numerous applications and securing the data and information being stored on these virtual machines.
The old way of managing servers required physical labor from IT. Rooms would be filled with dozens of physical machines that generated a lot of heat and required a lot of hands-on work when something went wrong. One of the beautiful things about virtualization is that one physical server can house multiple virtualized servers. Server virtualization has its obvious benefits, but one of the difficult things to figure out is how clearly differentiate the roles of each of these virtual machines. When all of your servers are housed in the same physical unit, placing defined roles for each virtualized server can be complicated. Additionally, if something has gone wrong internally with one of the virtualized servers, figuring out how to identify exactly where the problem occurred can be an issue if there’s no clear way to tell what server does what.
Again, one of the benefits of virtualization is that it gives users more potential for applications and data storage than traditional data center management, but figuring out how to delegate and prioritize these applications is a challenge. Knowing which applications should be assigned to which server and how they can be potentially integrated across multiple servers is no easy task. While virtualization’s ultimate goal might be to make IT’s work less difficult, the business management sides of things becomes more important than ever.
Security is one of the biggest concerns with virtualization since it seems anything that can be virtualized is being virtualized these days. When servers were housed in physical units, the upkeep on them was more laborious, but in a way, they’re physical separation was an added security measure. Since multiple servers can be virtualized on the same machine, there’s the risk of exposing of those servers and their contents to cyber criminals if proper security measures are not taken. The implementation of security networks on virtualized machines is itself more difficult than with physical devices simply because that technology is newer and has not been explored and developed as well. As virtualization becomes more popular, more advanced, virtualized firewalls and security networks will be developed because of demand. Basically, the stakes are higher than ever when it comes to security. All of this isn’t to say that virtualization cannot be implemented in a secure manner; it’s just that if something goes wrong with security, the consequences could be very, very bad.
One virtualization platform looking to solve some of these problems and offer additional capabilities to its customers is VMware’s VSphere with Operations Management. VSphere with Operations Management claims to mitigate these challenges increasing data center operations’ visibility. It boasts managerial solutions (organization and understanding of all of the virtualized chaos), intelligent operations (disaster recovery and other security measures) and controlled automation (a combination of security and managerial tasks). Additional solutions and platforms are sure to emerge and improve upon themselves in the coming months and years because – as said before – virtualization is here, and it looks like it’s here to stay.