Entry Level Virtualization with VMware

Many organizations are evaluating the cloud, if they are not there already. As with most business decisions, there are several things to consider. Let’s take a look at the dynamics of virtualization that should be top of mind for you.

Virtualization Cost

VMware is not just a high-end, expensive option for virtualization. Entry level virtualization users can deploy virtual machines with VMware’s Essentials and Essentials Plus plans. These plans require intelligent deployments, but can be cost-effective ways to start with VMs.

Selecting Virtualization Hardware

Start with a three-host setup. This supports redundancy and failover for VMs. VMware’s Essentials packages provide support for up to three machines, ideal for this setup.

Determine the resources for your machines based on operating system choice and requirements for installed software. Then multiply the estimated requirements by at least 1.6. This way if one of the VM hosts fails, or requires maintenance, this ensures that the other two hosts can shoulder the load of the disabled host. It’s preferable to have all three hosts use identical hardware. If this is not possible then make sure they are similar as possible.

When choosing the brand of hardware for the VMware deployment, operators can choose based on their needs and preferences. However, VMware and HP do have a close relationship. VMware provides an HP-specific version of their hypervisor software that includes more detailed monitoring of the hardware and sensors. If HP is a good fit, give it strong consideration.

Storage Options for Virtualization

Storage Area Networks are the best option for file storage on a VMware setup. The catch? SANs are often cost-prohibitive for entry-level buyers. What VMware and HP offer are virtual storage area network (vSAN) software. A vSAN plugs into the hosts, using storage in the hosts, and replicating the data between hosts, like how a RAID works. A vSAN requires at least three hosts, and about 40% of the combined storage goes toward file redundancy. This does mean host downtime still preserves data integrity. A vSAN uses more space than a true SAN (which requires less than 1 GB of disk space with VMware), but it provides short-term cost savings.

How to Configure Virtualization Software

While it’s ideal to have a certified engineer for a VMware setup, first-time users can use VMware’s provided support and guides to set up their deployment. HP also offers setup service for those that purchase hardware and software from the company. Keep all these factors in mind when setting up an entry-level virtualization setup.

Sikich has helped hundreds of companies move to the cloud. We have several cloud services that can help you develop the best IT strategy and have a successful implementation. Have questions on virtualization? Contact us, we are here to help!

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