Data centers

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Rethink The Business Case?

Every P2V business case is about cost savings, right? You know the pitch; consolidation will set you (and your budget) free. PR firms are even touting virtualization as the saving grace for budget woes in the coming Dark Age, er, recession. What if I told you that IT pros up and down the food chain are looking at VM'ing to resolve server-build hassles and a list of other operational woes? What if I said those same folks are expecting costs to be neutral, or higher for P2V, but

Every P2V business case is about cost savings, right? You know the pitch; consolidation will set you (and your budget) free. PR firms are even touting virtualization as the saving grace for budget woes in the coming Dark Age, er, recession. What if I told you that IT pros up and down the food chain are looking at VM'ing to resolve server-build hassles and a list of other operational woes? What if I said those same folks are expecting costs to be neutral, or higher for P2V, but their business case is still good... Of HP customers planning to run some flavor of hypervisor, 70% are focused on consolidation and 30% are looking for "extras" like HA or operational flexibility. Larger customers looking at blade deployments are expressing stronger interest in virtualization than smaller shops looking at 1U options. Those rough numbers came out in an interview with Frances Guida, manager, virtualization, HP infrastructure software. I don't think anyone will be surprised by the point spread; it reflects the footprint, skill sets, and value propositions seen by larger IT shops over SMB willingness to venture into virtualization.

Of greater interest to me, Guida and her associate Kalyan Ramanathan, a marketing director from HP's Storage Automation area, gave anecdotal evidence of customers rolling out ESX with a 1x1 deployment plan, leveraging virtualization to simplify server roll-out and other operational headaches. Have you thought of hosting just one or two guests per box? It seems counterintuitive, yet...

Guida cited an analyst report projecting 50% of servers shipping as virt platforms within five years. I suspect that estimate is conservative.

The vast majority of HP customers are looking at P2V per VM vendors' main message; virtualize, consolidate, save money. But Guida and Ramanathan (who was brought into HP from Opsware ... remember that acquisition?) agreed that infrastructure flexibility is becoming a selling point in P2V business cases.

While I'm here, I need to mention it's been a busy week for HP in this space. Starting Monday with the announcement of Insight Dynamics - VSE, a management toolset for physical and virtual servers to provision, migrate, and assess 'logical' servers across an enterprise. Want to know CPU stats or power consumption for all your HP servers, P or V? HP plans to offer the new version of Insight Dynamics this quarter. Monday also brought an announcement from HP Service, with an emphasis on planning and support for consolidation and virtualization at large data centers. Then today HP announced its strategy to satisfy virtualization needs out of the box for SMBs. The idea behind ProLiant iVirtualization is pretty damn simple. The customer racks a new server, boots up and chooses their preferred flavor of virtualization. 3i? Click here. Citrix XenServer? Click there. Both available starting the end of this month. Hyper-V? Soon. If customers happen to choose XenServer, HP also provides an integrated management console. Any questions on HP's outlook for the virtualization market?

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