The implementation of “virtual” infrastructures is rapidly increasing in popularity, due to the many benefits they offer. Virtual environments can deliver significant increases in productivity and performance, freeing companies from the limitations and burdens of physical computers. For example, unlike standard servers, virtual servers can run multiple applications or operating systems simultaneously.
In addition to enhancing the efficiency and reliability of technology systems, virtualization can also reduce the costs associated with setting up and maintaining data centers, and helps companies achieve “green” computing models through consolidation and waste elimination. And, industry experts like Forrester Research have claimed that virtual servers can enhance IT predictability and continuity, making it faster and easier for organizations to recover from disasters.
But, perhaps most importantly, because virtual servers are more flexible, firms can run their business in a more agile fashion, adjusting their technology environment more rapidly in response to changing market conditions or evolving business requirements.
Yet, what many companies forget when outlining their virtualization strategies is that these virtual assets must be effectively managed, much in the same way that traditional systems are. Robust IT asset management tools must be employed to ensure that all virtual servers and PCs are accounted for throughout their lifecycle – from the time they are assigned an owner and configured, through maintenance and re-provisioning, and finally, when they are disposed.
Additionally, virtual assets are subject to the same software license compliance guidelines as physical systems. Companies must effectively audit and monitor the software applications that are installed on their virtual servers, to ensure full adherence with vendor contracts at all times.
And, IT management tools must be used to accurately link virtual assets to the physical systems that run them. This is critical to ensuring smooth change management – for example, it will help companies understand how virtual servers will be impacted when the physical ones they are tied to are modified or rendered obsolete.