This afternoon I had a discussion with a client on strategies to increase their level of virtualization within production IT. It appears that the magic threshold seems to be 30% virtualization. Companies seem to easily achieve close to 30% virtualization by taking a basic two prong approach:
- Take a Virtualization First policy for all new projects.
- Convert all low hanging fruit from physical servers to VMs
Within a few years, an organization naturally will achieve virtualization levels approaching 30% based upon a reasonable growth rate. Eventually the growth rate slows and the challenge then becomes breaking that 30% barrier.
To further increase virtualization within Enterprise IT at a similar growth rate requires an active virtualization plan that addresses:
- Application engineering to stack rank the existing applications and proactively educate application groups to lead them to virtualize with a carrot instead of driving them to virtualize with a stick
- Social engineering within the business units to accept VMs instead of physical servers and adapt their expectations into SLAs
- Organizational engineering within IT to create a Virtualization Center of Excellence that transcends traditional IT silos
- Financial engineering within IT to determine how reclaimed or early retired systems will be accounted for (this especially becomes an challenge when the business units bought the physical servers and their conversion to VMs happens before the end of life of those physical servers.)
This is journey I’m currently undergoing with a few of my clients. I’ll try to share my expereinces from this journey here in the future.