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With Virtual Machines, Management Is Key

You're running how many single-application Windows 2000 servers for accounts payable? Your server room HVAC struggles to maintain 83 degrees--in the middle of winter? If this sounds like your IT department's reality, virtualization may the answer.

Virtual machines free operating systems from underlying computer hardware, so one physical server can host multiple versions of Windows and Linux, map to limitless external data stores, and offer an endless variety of applications while being managed from a single console. There's a catch, of course: If management isn't your strong suit, VMs can spiral out of control and put data at risk.

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Technologies such as VMware's VMotion let "guest" operating systems migrate from host to host in real time as business needs dictate, while providing relatively simple and inexpensive failover, clustering, and scalability.

The Opportunity
Transitioning to a virtualized environment reduces capital costs and power consumption and shrinks your data center footprint.
Transfer technologies like VMware's VMotion can move virtual servers seamlessly from one host to another, giving IT administrators unprecedented flexibility.
Carefully plan migration, management, and information security policies for virtualized environments.

Enterprise-grade virtualization platforms from VMware, XenSource, and others capitalize on the fact that IT departments have always sized servers for peak workloads. Because of that, data centers house many servers where average CPU utilization is measured in single digits.

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