IT Production – More Best Practices


In my previous post I talked about some of the main best practices that customers use in the IT production phase of their virtualization journey. I dug some more into the archive of customer interviews and found these additional ones. Some are interesting.

Virtualization Friendly Chargeback

Many, many customers use this best practice to foster adoption of virtualization especially in the early stages. Once they have their virtualization infrastructure set up (Servers, storage, network, vSphere), when a server is requested by the business they offer the following:

A – you can have a physical server is 8 weeks (typically) and you pay for it

B – you can get a virtual server tomorrow and it is free

Of course B assumes that:

  • They have changed their processes so that they can actually provision a virtual machine overnight. This is not always true. We found cases where the actual provisioning task takes few hours at most but the process overall still take weeks because of the existing approval process red tape.
  • That the customer found ways to fund the initial investment in the virtualization infrastructure, typically by using the savings from server consolidation to fund the storage and VMware software costs.

This practice fosters adoption as people tend to like immediate free gratification over for-charge delayed gratification.

Of course, when the customer reaches higher level of virtualization, this model breaks own and they need to institute a more sophisticated chargeback framework to cover their costs.

Never Say No to a virtual Machine Request

This is often used in conjunction with the best practice above. Once IT is comfortable virtualizing a given set of applications, they should never say no when the business requests the provisioning of such type of apps as virtual machines.  This is so that virtualization is always the path of least resistance thus fostering adoption and scaling cost savings.

These two best practice are built on a third one

Always keep Room for Growth

IT should always monitor the capacity of their virtual infrastructure to make sure there is always room for growth and expansion. If you hit a wall and you stall for 8 weeks to provision additional storage and servers to make room for more virtualization the two best practices above are put on hold and the virtualization skeptics may take the chance to say “see, even with virtualization you need 8 weeks”…

vMotion demo

Mastering the user of vMotion is truly a big inflection point for our customers. It allows them to do maintenance without disruption thus avoiding working weekends. vMotion really allows them to experience one of the advantages of hardware abstraction and virtual machine mobility. There is another big inflection point and ah ahhh moment when customers start using DRS, but they typically do this a little later in their adoption journey.

We found customers who organize lunch and learn or brown bags sessions to evangelize the advantages of virtualization through the demonstration of a live vMotion to other IT teams or even their business counterpart.

It is a great internal selling tool.

Install Workstation on the CEO Laptop

We learned this from an SMB where the CIO got very comfortable with VMware technology and wanted to transform his IT computing platform using it but he realized that he needed support from the very top to be successful with such transformation. He needed to make virtualization tangible to his upper management along the lines of when people achieve with the vMotion demo above.

So, this CIO decided to install VMware Workstation on his CEO’s laptop so that the CEO could run the image of his home computer on his laptop.

What he was actually doing was to work on the sponsorship aspect of virtualization.

12 months later this company was fully virtualized. I should probably write a whole post on them as they did a number of different things just right like training the team proactively, virtualizing business applications and databases even despite lack of ISV official support statement (this was when Microsoft did not fully supported VMware yet).

Ciao

Vittorio

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2 thoughts on “IT Production – More Best Practices

  1. Pingback: Resistance is Futile – Your App will Be Virtualized « Virtualization journey

  2. Pingback: latoga labs | Virtualization Round Up 20100608

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