7 things that will sink virtualization

Experts reveal potential pitfalls

5. Don't assume one size fits all.

Virtualization offers speedy provisioning of resources, but that doesn't mean IT departments can skimp on capacity planning and testing before they roll out virtual machines or assign applications to virtual infrastructure, experts say.

"Don't move a new application or server type without first having tested I/O, utilization and more," Gill says.

Capacity planning tools, such as those from Cirba, ISaccountable and PlateSpin (part of Novell), could help IT managers understand how their current infrastructure consumes resources and choose the appropriate applications to migrate to a virtual platform, says James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

"Don't assume one size fits all for virtual machines. Each one will have its own unique performance characteristics," Staten says. "Be sure to use a capacity-planning and management tool to help make the right sizing decisions."

6. Don't let your guard down.

There hasn't been a widely publicized attack on virtual infrastructure to date, but that doesn't mean enterprise IT managers can rest easy or assume that virtual machines aren't vulnerable.

Such vendors as Altor Networks, Blue Lane Technologies, Catbird and Reflex Security are working to add a layer of security to the virtual environment, but the underlying platform still could suffer an attack, industry watchers point out. The market for virtual security products is nascent, and analysts argue that hypervisor providers should take the opportunity to weave tighter security controls into their products to ensure more secure environments.

"Adding a layer of security to virtualized deployments is different from securing the virtualization platform itself. The risk is huge: The hypervisor stands in a very strong position to augment, if not outright replace, the operating system as the underlying platform," says Scott Crawford, research director at EMA.

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Tags virtualisation

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