Virtualization Technology: Virtualizing Business Apps: Top 10 Myths That Make Some Shops Hold Back
Myth 1: My legacy business-critical applications are married to the underlying hardware; changing the platform is a major undertaking.
Truth: Virtualizing an application is very different from re-platforming and is a much simpler undertaking, since a virtual machine encapsulates the entire OS and application. While infrastructure best practices must be followed, there's typically no modification at the application level.
Myth 2: Newer applications may be 'built for the cloud,' but my legacy business-critical applications are not designed to benefit from cloud infrastructure.
Truth: Virtualization brings cloud-like benefits to existing legacy applications by providing dynamic scalability, built-in high availability, provisioning in minutes and automated disaster recovery at the infrastructure level.
Myth 3: Current x86 hardware is not resilient enough for my most mission-critical applications and systems.
Truth: Virtualization creates a layer of abstraction that is built to tolerate underlying hardware failure, thanks to features like built-in high availability and fault tolerance. One of the basic advantages of virtualization is that it frees applications from the underlying hardware, thus enabling application mobility and flexibility to increase uptime and performance.
Myth 4: Virtualization is about cost savings, and Im not willing to risk the health of my business applications to save on hardware costs.
Truth: Virtualization is not just about cost reduction. It also helps improve application quality of service by enabling applications to scale up or scale out on demand, increasing application uptime and achieving a level of agility that is impossible in the physical world. In fact, the ability to have automated, fully tested disaster recovery is one of the key drivers for many organizations to virtualize their most important applications.
Myth 5: If my applications run on shared resources, I will lose control and wont have confidence in how my applications run.
Truth: Many application owners actually prefer virtualization because of the ability to scale their applications dynamically, migrate live workloads and fast-provision new application instances in minutes using templates. Leading virtualization platforms provide resource-control mechanisms that allow IT to govern resource pools by assigning reservations, limits and shares to shared system resources such as CPU, disk and memory. This prevents any issues that might happen from applications running in shared physical resources.
Myth 6: Virtualizing my applications complicates my software licensing, either making it more expensive or putting me out of compliance with my ISV.
Truth: Many ISVs actually have virtualization-friendly licensing. Virtualization allows you to increase the utilization of processor-based licensing, thanks to consolidation of application instances, thus saving not just on hardware but on expensive software as well.
Myth 7: ISVs wont support my application if its running in a virtual environment.
Truth: Major vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM have clear support statements for virtualization. Be sure to read the fine print and not just listen to the sales rep.
Myth 8: Performance will be compromised if I virtualize my applications.
Truth: Advances in software, hardware (such as hardware assist for memory management in the newer processors) and significant improvements in virtualization IT have practically eliminated earlier performance concerns. Virtualization platforms such as VMware's vSphere can limit performance overhead to as low as 2% to 10%, which is negligible given the powerful hardware currently in the market.
Myth 9: Virtualization can handle everything except my most I/O-intensive applications.
Truth: Even the most I/O-intensive applications now can be virtualized with confidence; large enterprise systems are virtualized in production 24/7 in many industries. Virtualization platform features like storage and network I/O controls, for example, allow reservations and priorities to enable policy-based compute, network and storage resource management for business applications.
Myth 10: Virtualizing mission-critical applications is complex, risky and not for the faint-hearted.
Truth: A recent VMware customer-benchmarking survey revealed that 60% of customers polled have virtualized at least one business-critical application, including such heavy-duty ones as Oracle and Microsoft SQL databases, Microsoft Exchange, Enterprise Java applications and SAP. IDC has reported that virtualizing business applications is a critical step in the journey to cloud computing and that most companies are already well on their way.