If your like many IT Administrators or Managers you may be wanting to use VMWare ESX Server for virtualizing servers but may meet resistance from others in your department or business unit. Many people are gun-shy on putting business critical applications on VMWare Virtual Servers and may resist if you try to go whole hog virtualizing these applications in the face of such resistance. We found a successful introduction to VMWare ESX and virtual servers could be done by choosing to virtualize older systems and utilize VMWare initially to perform other functions besides replacing physical hardware for critical systems.
Consolidate older systems and stand alone processes: We had many large older servers that needed to be running but were not worthy of equipment upgrades. Everyone in IT wanted these boxes out of the server room but the data needed to be available in case of an audit or historical need. Some systems performed low level processing on a scheduled basis. We imaged theses systems to VMWare ESX virtual servers using Ghost and an in place upgrade to get them booting again. We were able to run eight servers on a two processor Dell Blade server.
Use VMWare for a Development and Staging Environment: Today most organizations are moving to a structure where they utilize development and staging servers in addition to their production servers. VMWare Virtual Servers running on ESX make great environments to use Dev and Staging servers without adding a bunch of servers to your data center.
Using Citrix Metaframe Installation Manager? Use VMWare Virtual Servers for your packager. If you use Installation Manager for Citrix Metaframe Enterprise you will need a clean system running the same operating system as your Citrix server. Using VMWare Virtual servers as your packager allows you to keep a clean packager without adding hardware and rebuilding servers in your data center.
We used the ideas above to get value from VMWare ESX Server and Virtual Servers in a “safe” environment. This provided a proof of concept for the gun-shy doubters and has paved the way for us to use VMWare ESX Server in more critical environments.
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