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Editor’s Note: Virtualization Delivers the ROI Trifecta

Go beyond doing more with less and reducing your carbon footprint; virtualization enables a more agile, responsive infrastructure and lays the foundation for cloud services.

By Mitch Irsfeld

With IT departments wedged between limited budget growth in 2011 and the expectations for new services--especially cloud computing--getting in the virtualization game has become a virtual no-brainer. The reason: Running enterprise workloads on virtual machines not only positions your existing IT infrastructure for cloud services, it delivers substantial savings over physical servers and enables a more agile, scalable and resilient server environment.

And whether you are personally concerned about environmental sustainability or not, the efficiency gained by consolidating hardware in a virtual infrastructure can dramatically decrease your organization’s carbon footprint, an issue of growing concern in board rooms around the world.

This edition of TechNet ON looks at how Microsoft’s virtualization technologies can position your organization for the RIO trifecta with benefits that are high on the hit list in most executive suites. Reduced overhead, increased sustainability and faster response to changing business conditions should get everyone’s attention. Laying the foundation for cloud migration is an added bonus. We also offer some technical instruction and best practices for achieving those benefits.

TechNet Magazine author Joshua Hoffman provides a rundown of all those benefits, and the key Microsoft technologies that together deliver them. His article Sustainability and Savings Go Hand-in-Hand with Virtualization also highlights additional benefits such as unified management tools like System Center Virtual Machine Manager and the ability to create new servers on the fly and reallocate capacity for peak loads.

Hoffman touches on the environmental sustainability benefits of running virtual machines but, for a more focused discussion of virtualizations role in facilitating a greener IT environment, check out the video from Microsoft Learning Green IT and Virtualization. This “Learning Snack” describes the Hyper-V server role and the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) tool, which provide a virtualized infrastructure in Windows Server 2008.

You Say Green IT, I Say Sustainability

Speaking of green IT, that moniker makes it hard to pin down the uptake of “green” initiatives, simply because a lot of companies don’t apply the label. Dennis Anderson takes a look at this phenomenon and offers his own insight in his TechNet Learn article With Sustainability Rising on the C-Suite Agenda, is Green IT a Game Changer? He shows why Green IT should be part of a broader sustainability strategy that goes beyond a company’s carbon footprint and energy efficiency to encompass cost reduction, compliance, and extending the lifecycle of products.

Microsoft knows first-hand the role of virtualization in reducing its carbon footprint. Its executive strategy brief Environmental Sustainability describes its sustainability commitment and how Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 enables server consolidation result in measureable reductions and energy consumption and carbon emissions.

TechNet also includes specific scenarios in its Virtualization Scenario Hub that guide you through the resources and tools for planning, deploying and configuring the technologies to accomplish a specific business goal. In particular, the scenario How to Save on Power Consumption by Consolidating Servers Using Virtualization explains what needs to be considered when planning to consolidate servers in a virtualized infrastructure.

Two other scenarios to put on your reading list:

And speaking of RDS, take a look at Greg Shields “Geek of All Trades” column in TechNet Magazine, Add Hyper-V to RDS for Inexpensive Virtual Desktops.

Deploying virtual machines present a different set of challenges and Microsoft has put together some tools and best practices to facilitate your shift from physical to virtual resource management. Brian Marranzini’s TechNet Magazine article Prepare to Virtualize addresses the challenges you can face when deploying virtual environments, from new licensing models, to identifying candidates for converting to virtual machines and the hardware considerations for handling cumulative workload.

And for guidance on balancing your virtual server workloads, read William Stanek’s TechNet Magazine article Partition and Conquer. He describes a dynamic approach to hardware partitioning enabled with Windows Server 2008 that allows you to allocate and adjust partitions and resources while the system is running for better availability and serviceability.

This is just a sample. We’ve organized the content around two main themes: Efficiency and Savings, and Sustainability. But as you’ll see, virtualization goes far beyond doing more with less and reducing your carbon footprint.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch

Mitch Irsfeld
Mitch Irsfeld, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, including InformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.