Virtualization Myths Exposed (Saves Money, Hardware, Resources, More..)

virtualization myths exposedI remember the old Memorex slogan back in the days of cassette tapes…

“Is it Real or Memorex?”

There’s a similar reality check going on over all the virtualization myths that are causing many businesses to ask if virtualization and cloud are worth the hassles.

In this post we’ll dive into six “Virtualization Myths” I have seen first-hand over the years.

1. “Virtualization Saves Money!”

This myth gets everyone, but in my experience, it is “Busted!” Why do I say “Busted?”

Because it will take years before your administrators, engineers, and environment are running efficient enough to cut CapEx and OpEx, enough to reduce TCO and improve ROI.

The truth is:

In the beginning for every reduction in spending, there will be additions of spend.

For example, you many reduce your physical hardware cost which will reduce a number of other costs associated with data center (ports, cooling, space), however, the increase in software licenses, both for VMware and tools will increase to offset the savings.

There will always be something to add for something removed, which leads to virtualization myths number two on leveraging.

2. “I can Build 100s of Virtual Servers on One Physical Server!”

For the record, this is technically true. Unfortunately, the VMs will perform poorly and in some cases be so bad that your users and developers will complain and become frustrated.

This myth is commonly believed and spread by salespeople that want to sell you something.

The truth is:

Virtualization does work and can support multiple VMs on one physical server, but there is a point where too many VMs have been created and the performance hit is not just on one VM, but all the VMs hosted on that server. Trading VM density for performance is not advised – “Busted!”

3. “Oversubscribing Resources is a Best Practice!”

Wrong again. Yes, you can oversubscribe memory, CPU and even storage by using thin provisioning and ballooning, but I don’t see it as a best practice and everyone is not doing it.

In fact, many top VMware engineers actually suggest the opposite, and have standardized their provisioning of virtual servers on a 1:1 resource ratio, which basically means: 1 GB of physical memory installed to 1 GB of memory assigned, or 1 GB or storage installed to 1 GB of storage assigned.

CPUs are slightly easier to deal with and can be leveraged easier, but even this has its drawbacks which you will find after doing it enough.  “Busted!”

4. “Virtualizing Is Easy!”

If all your planning to do is virtualize enough servers to fill one host, yes it is easy.  Just deploy VMs until it runs out of memory, CPU or disk space and stop…

I agree that is very easy to do, and you can even find free VMware, XenSource, KVM software to do this.

The truth is:

The minute you start building more hypervisor hosts, “easy” goes out the window and you have just turned your single point of management host into a complex environment that will start requiring special software and management tools.

At this point, you will require more servers, which will require more hardware, which will become more complex, which will require more tools that are no longer free, which will require more expertise, which leads us to the next virtualization myth.

5. “Anyone can Do It!”

I’ve managed multiple virtualization teams and environments, and this virtualization myth bothers me the most because it is totally false – Busted!

There is a big difference between an accountant installing a free edition of VirtualBox on his home desktop versus running VMware ESXi with HA clustering and shared storage that is properly supported and managed.

The truth is:

Just updating VMtools after a major ESXi upgrade on 10 or more hosts is complex enough to send the average system admin complaining because of all the reboots, approvals and QA work it will cause him to organize.

Not to mention most system administrators won’t know what they don’t know about virtualization best practices for the next 2 – 3 years. And even that’s not long enough because VMware keeps adding products and features that require constant training and hands-on trial and error to learn, which leads me to my final virtualization myth.

6. “Virtualization Reduces Staffing Requirements!”

In a small operation, this may be true if you’re leveraging one or two admins to do it all on a few big hosts.

But, there is a tipping point where you will start trading quarters for dollars, which means higher TCO.

The truth is:

Even in a small Windows OS run business that handles their own server builds for Exchange, SharePoint and services such as AD, DNS, and security, it can be a lot of work for two admins.

Now throw in ESXi and a small NAS, and complexity just went up 200 – 300% if you plan to use shared storage (datastores), and other VMware features or products.

One or two people will not have the cycles to do all the support, maintenance and operation duties that will go undone and eventually this will cause outages and waste.

Multiply this scenario by the factor of 10 or 20 and you now need more staff to do all the duties of networking, security, hardware, infrastructure and support for your DEV, QA, and production virtual environments.

And, if you’re anything like everyone else, you’ll want to consolidate, automate, standardize and test cloud solutions, which will require higher level scripting and development skills.

My team was never large enough or had the right expertise, to do all the projects they were being assigned. “Busted again!”

Conclusion:

I could just as easily have written a post on the “six benefits of virtualization” and listed all the Pros, but I’ll leave that for another post and finish my point on Virtualization Myths.

Virtualization is like marriage, you need to go into it with your eyes opened and know the risks because on the surface it looks cool, fun and sexy!

Finally, once you start down the virtualization roadmap, it can be hard to keep track of what’s coming next…

Almost every day you will add something new to the roadmap that increases the scope and is supposed to make managing the complexity of virtualization easier,  but unfortunately will never really add value because nobody has time to fully configure it, or because there’s one more license upgrade it requires for that feature to work…

Your Turn:

Do you have virtualization myths to share with VM Install, please comment?

Leave a Reply

vSphere Data Protection EOA
Finding The Best vSphere Backup Replacement For VDP (3 Alternatives)

Important Notification: vSphere Data Protection (VDP) End of Availability (EOA) That...

vSphere 6
8 Updates That Make vSphere 6 Better – Keith Barker

Editor’s note: Keith Barker has been a CBT Nuggets Trainer since 2012. Some...

VMware Interview Questions
25 VMware Interview Questions And Answers: Tough & Technical (Download PDF)

Free VMware vSphere Interview Guide In this VMinstall Guide, I’ll share...

Project Photon
VMware Project Photon: Technical Review for Linux Admins

My quick and dirty review of Project Photon. I was very happy...

DevOps Plan
Best DevOps Strategy Hack (Winners Start With Why)

What is DevOps? It’s a model. It’s a culture. It’s a...

DevOps Tools Download
DevOps Toolchain: Download 3 Free Tools Used By Pros (Ansible, Git, Jenkins)

Hack Your Resume with DevOps Skills Lately, I’ve been getting a...

DevOps Guide
The Best Microsoft DevOps Skills: 25+ For Windows SysAdmins

What is Microsoft DevOps? This is an interesting question because first off,...

continuous integration tools
The Best Automation Training Video Courses (DevOps Tools)

When I was just starting out as a Jr SysAdmin, I...

Assessing Your Company's Cloud Readiness
13 Cloud Readiness Assessment Tips To Guide Your Migration Success (Updated)

Planning your migration to the cloud? If you’re planning to move...

How Bare Metal Virtualization Made Cloud Computing A Reality
How Bare Metal Virtualization Made Cloud Computing A Reality

An Overview of Bare Metal Virtualization Let’s start by explaining what...

Advantages of Cloud Computing
Advantages of Cloud Computing (Private versus Public)

Advantages of Cloud Computing Whether you’re an enterprise IT department planning...

Free Offical Amazon VPC & EC2 Cloud Guides for Beginners

Free Cloud Guides for Beginners Are you researching Amazon’s AWS Virtual...

DesTechAZ
What’s So Interesting About Woz U?

On 10/12/2017, I had the privilege of attending the AZ Tech...

tensorflow training
TensorFlow Tools for Beginners (7 Easy Takeaways To Get You Started)

Introduction To Deep Learning As a follow-up to my book review...

job rut
How To Get MOVING When You’re Stuck In A Career Rut (Video)

You worked hard to get your degree and after graduation you...

Storage Engineer Skills
Why Storage Engineer Skills Are HOT! (Can You Say Big Data?)

3 BIG Skills New Storage Engineers Are Missing Out On… Behind...

VULTR Reviews
VULTR Review And Comparison: Best VPS Platforms Now Thru 2018
Best Hosting for WordPress
Case Study: Best VPS For Easy WordPress Migration
White Box Storage
White Box Storage that Rocks! Great for SME
cloudways review updated
11 Cloudways Review Pros & Cons From My Deep Dive Testing (VPS Series: Part 2)
Website for Small Business
Best Small Business Website Packages (6 Alternatives That Rank!)
Click here to learn how to Optimize WordPress Speed
WordPress Speed Optimization: Learn To Rank Higher In Google