Trendlines: New, Hot, Unexpected

In this issue: The impact a possible recession would have on VC funding; The battle between social networking sites; Security risks associated with remote workers; IT leaders continue to court Wall Street; and By The Numbers: New rules and benchmarks for virtualization management.

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By The Numbers

Virtualization Management: New Rules, New Benchmarks

You may be doing a terrific job getting your data center virtualized but, as with every IT project, you still need metrics to show the business how well things are going.

There is, however, one big problem with that: The discipline of virtualization management is still in its infancy. Many enterprises only rolled out virtualization to production machines (rather than testing and development machines) in 2007. And while market leader VMware has offered management tools from the get-go, other vendors are just now starting to compete in that arena. A recent study by IDC (a CIO sister company) urges IT leaders to benchmark their virtualization management efforts and examines some early metrics that may help. And now's the time to make managing your virtual infrastructure a priority, especially as you allocate IT budget and staff, says IDC research director Stephen Elliot. Otherwise, you won't be able to optimize virtualization results or savings, or develop a strategic plan for the future. For instance, what does your virtualization management team look like? According to IDC, 15 percent of IT groups are creating a dedicated team to manage the overall virtualization effort, bringing together experts from the various IT disciplines.

However, 85 percent of enterprises are creating their management group inside their server and/or storage teams. This may not be the best approach. Experts say you need to create a team that also includes network and security gurus. (For more on virtualization, read "ABC: An Introduction to Virtualization".)

Remember, while virtualization can reduce the number of boxes in your data center, it doesn't eliminate all the associated management challenges. In fact, it can just compress the time that the IT group has to identify and solve performance problems, says IDC's Elliot.

Best Practices

Think Cost

As you project ROI, remember to allocate budget for virtualization management and security tools.

Think Process

If your enterprise is using ITIL or another framework for managing IT process, make your virtual infrastructure part of those plans. Virtualization will only increase as a percentage of your overall IT environment in the future.

Think Strategy

Virtualization will become a high-profile part of IT's work rather quickly. Business-side demands for improved business continuity and for new applications will mean that for many enterprises, virtualization management will become a strategic project within two years of initial deployment.

-Laurianne McLaughlin

Related:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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