Why Data Center Virtualization is a Hot Topic

August 24, 2010

You’d think Data Center Virtualization was a brand-new innovation, given its hot nature in IT sectors these days.  But predecessors of virtualization have been in use within data centers for years now; just look at Storage Area Networks, clustered servers and even on single servers running multiple operating systems.

Virtualization is a proven approach to maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of IT infrastructure resources. Traditional data center infrastructures were comprised of a variety of stand-alone systems – usually dedicated to a specific application or service. The cost of managing such systems, along with the low utilization and inefficient ROI, caused virtualization to come into play. 

For example:

  • Clustered applications allowed components of large applications (such as SAP) to be run on specific computing components, load-balancing for increased efficiency based on real-time utilization, while also sharing overall application data.
  • SANs enabled multiple standalone servers to access and interact with the same core data.
  • Virtual machines enabled IT to serve multiple operating systems on the same computers, supporting a more diverse array of applications and increasing overall resource utilization.

So why is total data center virtualization so hot these days?

  • The costs and complexity of such standalone, dedicated systems is prohibitive in today’s world.  Additionally such stand-alone systems have difficulty scaling to meet today’s massive data growth.  Nor can they deliver the level of business agility required.
  • The growth in business and personal data,  coincident with flattened IT budgets have  made virtual architectures the ideal way to increase IT efficiency and productivity, while reducing costs. 
  • Cloud computing takes virtualization to a whole new level, offering the opportunity to outsource applications and data to a third party ‘cloud’ virtual center infrastructure, or create a private cloud for corporate information processing.

Virtualization enables multiple server and storage devices to work together as a single integrated processing unit. Any number of applications can run across any number of systems, transparently and flexibly.

Virtualization involves three classes of virtualization technologies: networking, server and storage. On a network, virtualization allows one or a few machines to handle encryption, load balancing, firewall protection and other appliance services, instead of using a number of dedicated computers for each task.  The resulting reduction in cost and complexity – and corresponding management simplification – is significant. 

For large corporate environments, the savings can make the difference between staying in budget or having to cut staff and resources. Even small businesses can reap significant rewards – in both efficiency and cost reduction – by virtualizing application processing across a smaller yet shared number of servers.

Let’s review the business impact based on simplified and standardized hardware. Most agree that virtualization can offer 5 times the performance of mid-range servers as standalone systems. Compare a mid-range server ($100K) to a set of racked servers ($3,000/server). Assuming you place 10 racked servers in a virtualized pool, you’d enjoy 5 times the power of the most powerful mid-range system at a third of the cost.

Hardware cost reduction is only the beginning. Other impacts include:

  • Increased availability-One system going down doesn’t shut down application or service availability.  There is no need for redundant, standby resources.
  • Maintenance – IT personnel can take a server or an entire data center offline for maintenance, while other resources in the virtualized pool continue to provide services.
  • Ease of access – users on any device can access the information they need – regardless of their location.
  • Ease of scale – for large businesses, scaling data management and application services is dramatically simplified, as is performance optimization.

Ongoing maintenance and management offer significant efficiencies. For example,  if you have two virtualized data centers, IT can bring down one data center for maintenance,  while  continuing to deliver IT services via the second data center.   The entire operation can be accomplished transparent to users.

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface on the impact of virtualization. The benefits of virtualization apply to any size business or IT environment.  What’s your plan?


See For Yourself

August 17, 2010

Today’s myriad advanced technologies allow businesses and consumers alike to “virtualize” large portions of their typical day. From advanced wireless capabilities, to web conferencing tools like WebEx, to video conferencing tools like TelePresence, it’s easier than ever to connect, collaborate, and create with others remotely.

DelMar2010 But no technology will ever quite replace the power to see, touch, and interact with a brand in-person. To prove the point, we recently hosted our annual Nexus Technology Day at the Races in Del Mar. With a sunny California day and some fantastic horse racing for a backdrop, customers were invited to hear presentations and see demonstrations on the advanced technologies Nexus and our partners offer.

Just over 300 participants took advantage of the opportunity to network and socialize, collaborating with colleagues and sharing stories and experiences they’ve had with the technology amongst themselves while choosing their next winner.

NexSteps Demo Lab
We’ve taken this “see for yourself” idea a step further by creating a permanent NexSteps Demo Lab in our Irvine, California office. This fully operational demonstration lab showcases cutting-edge Data Center technology by industry leaders Cisco, EMC and VMware in a real-world environment. Remember, we know this technology because we use this technology. Our own company networks run on this same equipment in this same type of environment.

DataCenterLabWe invite you to schedule an appointment to come by and see for yourself how the technology can work for you.


Teleworking and the Virtual Office

August 10, 2010

Teleworking is on the rise, creating new challenges and opportunities for enterprises committed to the promise of borderless networks.

Consider a few projections and estimates:

  • Number of teleworkers by 2011: 112 million
  • Percentage of employees that work outside the corporate HQ: 90%
  • Average amount saved per year on fuel by employees who work one day at home: $500
  • Average commercial real estate savings per year for a full time teleworker: $22,000 

Considering the challenges of the current down economy and the clear savings associated with telework, it seems likely that teleworking will become an attractive approach for more and more organizations in the coming years. It’s certainly attractive to workers seeking schedule flexibility and better work-life balance.  They want to save time and costs on commuting.

While there may have been concerns in the past about the ability of teleworkers to build trust with their colleagues and effectively collaborate, the maturing of technology over the years has addressed many of these concerns. Rich communication and collaboration capabilities – matched with convenience and cost savings – have dramatically shifted the equation in favor of telework.

The question is: What will it take to successfully implement, manage and secure robust networks and IT resources that will support the move to a virtual office environment?

TeleworkingPost

One thing that’s clear is that teleworkers, full- and part-time home office workers, mobile contractors, and executives will expect the same rich array of network services – including data, voice, video and various applications – they could expect to access at a corporate office. 

But that won’t be enough. New telework solutions must also meet the requirements of IT. They must simplify the process of providing rich network services to remote locations.  Deployment and integration must be simple as well, making it easy to scale with the demands of the enterprise. Moreover, security must be uncompromising, ensuring traffic controls and identity management can be strictly enforced.

Finally, it’s critical to ensure the business objectives of the organization are addressed. Solutions must drive measurable productivity gains and cost reductions while facilitating greater agility.

Telework has been called a “quiet revolution,” but it’s clear it won’t remain quiet much longer.


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