One of the great things about working directly with customers is learning about all the wonderful things that they are doing within their enterprises. A recent example that impressed me from a cost savings and “wow, hadn’t thought of that” perspective is a customer of mine that is using virtaulization to archive computer systems to meet their legal requirements.
We all know the old jokes about the armies of lawyers that large companies have. Just like most jokes, there is always some truth behind that. And one of the things that these laywers usually need to deal with is how to archive data to meet the companies legal needs. Rather than just backing up the data, they have been saving and archiving the entire computer on which the data lives. Literally stacking boxes of desktops and servers into secure rooms in case the data on them in needed in the future.
Can you imagine the expense of that? Or even the operational nightmare when a lawyer needs to retrieve data from one of them…bring in the fork lift!
What one of my customers is exploring is using virtualization to solve this problem. With the help of VMware vCenter Converter they can P2V all the physical machines that Legal needs to archive in virtual machines and then just store them on a secure data store. With a small ESX cluster, they verify that each conversion was successful by powering on the VM and then archive it. If a lawyer needs access to a data, it a simple matter of booting up the VM on the small cluster and pointing them to the machine over the network.
All of this at a much lower total cost than moving and storing physical machines. Capture the data and reuse the resource.