Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't be scared of virtualization

Occasionally I talk with an IT guy who is scared to death of virtualization. Why the fear? Well the typical answer I get is that "it's complicated" or "expensive" or "I have no experience with it; going forward with it would be risky." If you're a virtualization tech of any stripe you'll know these worries can be easily erased. My own work experience with Hyper-V is a great answer to these techs who are scared (no offense) of virtualization. Why do I say don't be scared? I say don't be scared of virtualization because 1) you have no reason to be and 2) virtualization is super helpful for the most ordinary of IT projects.

At work we needed to implement Server 2008 R2's RDWeb services to enable our work application to be available to users who are away from our main office and for users who needed to access the application when they're sick, on vacation, etc. When the concern was approached to me, I immediately thought of R2's RDWeb services and pitched the idea to a group of people who were not interested in buying a new server. They assumed to use the RDWeb service we would need to purchase new hardware and that just wasn't going to happen (I work for local government and money is tight!). I told them they didn't have to worry about purchasing new hardware because of Hyper-V! We were limited to the 2008 version of Hyper-V, so we aren't able to use features like dynamic memory and bandwidth management but the point I made to them and want to make here is that even 2008's Hyper-V can make the simplest of IT projects, e.g. rolling out RDWeb, even simpler and much, much cheaper than going with new hardware. The only purchase made was five Remote Desktop Services CALs! The rest of the project requirements were already owned by us which was awesome. If we didn't go the virtualization route we would have made a lot of purchases in hardware. So I added the Hyper-V role to an existing Windows Server 2008 machine, configured the RDWeb virtual machine, installed a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 on the VM, installed and configured RDWeb on the virtual machine, made the necessary configurations in our Sonicwall TZ210 and then we were all set. Virtualization made that project so much easier than the alternative which is to buy new hardware, make room for that hardware, oh and convince the treasurer and company to make those purchases. For us, the project only cost us a couple of hundred dollars and RDWeb has helped us out a lot. Virtualizaton was the obvious route to take.

Don't be scared of virtualization! Implementing Hyper-V, Citrix, or VMWare doesn't mean you have to setup live migrations, virtual storage, virtual networks, VDI, or whatever else is intimidating to you; all it can mean is that you're going to use a virtual machine instead of a physical machine for your project. Try it out, even if it's in a lab at first. You can download trial copies of Server 2012 and Windows 8 to tinker around with virtualization if you haven't yet. Keith Mayer has awesome lab exercises for you to try and I know from personal experience that his lab exercises are awesome because I've used them multiple times! Again, don't be scared of virtualization because the benefits and range of uses are too great for you to not use because you're a little intimidated. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Life in IT appreciates and encourages your comments, but we do have guidelines for posting comments:

1. Avoid profanities or foul language unless it is contained in a necessary quote.

2. Stay on topic.

3. Disagree, but avoid ad hominem attacks.

4. Threats are treated seriously and reported to law enforcement.

5. Spam and advertising are not permitted in the comments area.