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Going virtual with business-critical applications on VMware vSphere

The decision to virtualize business-critical applications has gotten easier now that vSphere is equipped with more features to facilitate the process.

In the book Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere, authors Alexander Fontana and Matt Liebowitz offer advice to VMware admins looking to virtualize business-critical applications on VMware.

In the past, many admins shied away from virtualizing applications that were critical to the business. There was a time when the typical virtualization infrastructure could not handle the transition from physical server to virtual machine, but many barriers have been eliminated as the technology has matured. Today, almost all applications can exist without a physical server, but you must still consider potential availability, performance, support and licensing changes.

In Chapter 3, available to download and read here (PDF), Liebowitz and Fontana provide an overview of VMware vSphere and the features it offers to help customers virtualize Exchange Server, SQL Server and other business-critical applications. The chapter details specific considerations for virtualizing each application, including memory allocation, storage and networking.

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From Chapter 3, Overview of VMware vSphere:

Many organizations leave their most critical applications untouched during the initial journey into virtualization. When the time comes to evaluate whether moving those applications to a virtualized platform makes sense for the organization, application owners must be aware of how this will affect them and their applications. Top on the list of key concerns is supportability of the application on a virtualized platform. Does the software vendor support virtualization of their application, and if so, are there any limitations or considerations? In terms of cost, how is licensing affected by virtualization? If more, smaller virtual machines are required, does this incur a higher licensing cost? How resilient is the virtualized platform? Do virtual machines provide any additional availability options over physical deployments? Finally, and perhaps a question that comes up only after deployment, how are these applications managed and monitored once virtualized? Do the tools currently being used continue to work? Is there something better?

Further reading

Business-critical applications go virtual

Reasons to virtualize

Where to house mission-critical applications

In this chapter, we will take a look at what VMware vSphere has to offer in the way of virtualization features, with a focus on those relevant to business critical applications. We will provide an overview of some key virtualization concepts that vSphere administrators might be aware of, but that application owners who are new to virtualization might need some introduction to. In the chapters to follow, we will focus on application-specific recommendations, but in this chapter we will discuss some important design considerations that can apply to the majority of business critical applications.

Editor's note: This chapter excerpt from Virtualizing Microsoft Business Critical Applications on VMware vSphere, by Matt Liebowitz and Alexander Fontana, is available courtesy of VMware Press.

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