According to a recent VMware whitepaper, there are a few key considerations and pitfalls to heed when automating data centres with virtualization:
Proceed incrementally: Examine all manual tasks and consider whether these workloads can be migrated to a Virtual Data Centre.
Think cross-silo: Virtualization rollout works across server storage, desktop and application teams. Cutting costs by as much as 50% is possible if automation is pursued simultaneously across all these areas.
Budget and planning: If you decided to move to a Virtual Data Centre, factor in automation immediately and budget for solutions and training purchases that work towards this goal.
Analyze, monitor and measure: Tactically, measure cost savings and ROI while bringing teams and stakeholders together to utilize automation over the long-term as part of your broader strategy.
AVOID THESE PITFALLS
When pursuing an on-demand data centre these general pitfalls should be avoided while automating virtual infrastructure:
Solution Selection: Distinguish between key vendor and product features that can be automated immediately and those that should be on the vendor roadmap. Generally speaking, automation should be considered a long-term trend and requires a fundamental change in thinking.
Process standardization: If IT has not adopted a process standard, it should start by looking at ITIL and adopt it in the IT operations team. Other maturity models include CMM and CoBIT, which should also be considered by the respective IT group.
Cross-silo features: Automation impacts different buying centres and require flexibility in what can be automated and the integration points among the workflows and products. Buyers must consider the interface, functionality, and short- and long-term automation strategies within their IT silo and across teams.
Underlying virtualization architecture: Automation at the hypervisor layer must gather data (and sometimes act on this data) at very granular levels. Not all automation solutions are equal, and integration across broad virtualization architectures is required to drive workflows and trigger dynamic actions.
Larger enterprises are moving to Virtual Data Centres because they offer shared utility infrastructure and powerful automation features. These allow IT executives to focus on business objectives without getting mired in daily operational issues. VMware reports a number of customers who have cut costs by as much as 50% using this approach.
Centralized management processes and disaster recovery capabilities also make these remote Virtual Data Centres attractive to legacy on-premise IT departments. Also consider the benefits of self-service provisioning of virtual machines for use in application and test labs.
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