Don't Throw Away Your Physical Servers Just Yet

Summary:You'll need to keep some physical systems around for those workloads that can't go virtual. And, be sure to keep a horse and buggy around when that whole automobile thing doesn't work out too.

Oops! Did you get rid of ALL your physical systems so that you could convert every workload in your data center to a virtual one? Yeah, you might want to rethink that one and go grab a few physicals just to tide you over until virtualization takes a bigger technological leap. Yes, I am a virtualization advocate. Yes, I am a cloud advocate. Yes, I am a virtualization writer. Yes, I work with virtual machines and hosts on a daily basis. And, yes, I'm a realist. Some would go so far to say that I'm a pessimist.

I'm not pessimistic about virtualization, the cloud or server consolidation. But, I am pessimistic about your company's ability to wean itself off of physical systems.

I hear and read too many complaints about virtualization performance, legacy systems and blah, blah, blah--so much so that I'm saying, OK, maybe you should just keep some of your damn physical systems on hand to make yourself feel better. Because as everyone knows, or should know, there are just some workloads that can't be virtualized. I know you have one that absolutely can't be virtualized because it's different or special in some unique way that just wouldn't lend itself to virtualization.

Uh, OK. Whatever.

VMware begs to disagree on that point and they would be the one to know. But, hey, your non-technical executives and project managers know more than the people who brought server virtualization to the Data Center.

So, please--pretty please, don't throw away your physical servers just yet, just in case you have some workload that can't be virtualized.

That legacy application that should have been updated eight years ago or that Windows NT 4.0 system that you just can't take away must remain physical. It's OK, I've heard it all before. You're absolved of any wrongdoing or mismanagement. After all, I don't have to pay your bills. Or listen to the moans and groans of keeping that old garbage alive. And, it's a critical piece of garbage that your business depends on. Good job on that. You deserve a promotion for your proactive work, your acute business insight and your ability to keep that mission-critical up and running no matter what the cost.

And, you had better be glad you don't work for me.

My best advice, other than keeping those physical systems around, is to engage VMware, Citrix, the Open Virtualization Alliance or Fred the Virtualizer down the street to give you some direction in bringing your application up to date and migrating it to virtual architecture before it flops so hard that even Dr. Oz can't revive it.

So, talk back and tell me, are you still keeping physical systems around for those workloads that you just can't virtualize? I'd also love to know if you've engaged one of the companies that can help you move that workload to a virtual environment and the outcome.

Topics: Servers, Hardware

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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