There are many reasons to virtualize hardware and operating systems
in an environment. One that is often overlooked yet found in most virtualization solutions is the benefit of unified hardware. In this article I will discuss why unified hardware is such a treat and why you should look forward to it in when deploying virtual systems
in your new virtualized environment.
With hardware virtualization it is possible to configure the new virtual hardware to behave and be presented to another system a certain way. This allows servers and virtual desktops to have the same virtualized hardware, even if one virtual system has more memory or CPU resources than another.
Often with physical hardware, when a machine needs to have more memory, CPU, storage and etc a different motherboard is required which may also change the type of the other resources being used; resulting in the need for different drivers, images, software and support information. With virtualization, that can become a thing of the past.
For developers, only having to build software for one underlying hardware platform makes creating the application simpler. In many organizations, even if there is standardized hardware, there is still multiple server and desktop platforms, often creating compatibility and usability issues for custom and commercial software. Instead of attempting to find workarounds and fix bugs for errors that only occur on differing platforms, with a virtual environment and a single platform the developers can focus on building the features and functionality of the software.
Not only will developers enjoy a unified platform, but the support folks will too. Minimizing the number of drivers in an organization, reducing multiple knowledge base repositories for different hardware, reducing the likelihood of rouge or unexpected configurations and the ability to test resolutions on their own system because they know it is the same as the user.
My last article about deployments
discussed it at length, but it is worth mentioning again: reducing the number of images. As the need for different drivers, operating system configurations and custom software is reduced, so is the number of images.
Unified hardware also simplifies updating, patching and even upgrading systems because every system is going from the same state to a new like state on the same hardware. Testing patches and upgrades is easier too since the number of tests required is reduced, so they can also be deployed faster. Even if the underlying physical hardware is different, like having generation 4 and generation 7 servers in the datacenter, every virtual system with the same software is upgraded along the same path.
Unified hardware, another reason to move to a virtualized environment. Start having discussions with the sys admins, integrators, support and security teams in your organization about it. They may just buy you a beer (or tea).
No vendors or trademarks were named in this article, yet the statements hold true for most virtualization vendors. Do your research before committing to a solution. Now you can not say I did not warn you, and I can not be held responsible for your poor choices.
Send me a note about your virtual environment, contact information to the right.
Written by Eric Wamsley
Posted: January 9th, 2012 9:13pm