What are the common challenges of virtualization?

Bad storage, server, and network configurations are just a few reasons why virtualization fails. These are technical in nature and are often easy to fix, but some organizations overlook the need to protect their entire virtualized environments, thinking that they’re inherently more secure than traditional IT environments. Others use the same tools they use to protect their existing physical infrastructure. The bottom line is that a virtualized environment is more complex and requires a new management approach. These are the common problems talked about behind closed doors.

1. Resource distribution
The way virtualization partitions systems can result in varied ways — some might function really well, and others might not provide users access to enough resources to meet their needs. Resource distribution problems often occur in the shift to virtualization and can be fixed by working on capacity planning with your service provider.

2. VM Sprawl
VM sprawl, the unchecked growth of virtual machines in a virtual environment, as any virtualization admin knows, can cripple an otherwise healthy environment. It is problematic because its underlying cause often stays hidden until it manifests in resource shortages.
You should look at how virtual machines will be managed, who will be doing what, and what systems you’re going to use. One of the optimal times to develop an overall management plan is when you’re in a testing phase, before migration.

3. Backward compatibility
Using legacy systems can cause problems with newer virtualized software programs. Compatibility issues can be time-consuming and difficult to solve. A good provider may be able to suggest upgrades and workarounds to ensure that everything functions the way they should.

4. Performance monitoring
Virtualized systems don’t lend themselves to the same kind of performance monitoring as hardware like mainframes and hardware drives do. Try tools like VMmark to create benchmarks that measure performance on virtual networks and to monitor resource usage as well.

5. Backup
In a virtualized environment, there is no actual hard drive on which data and systems can be backed up. This means frequent software updates can make it difficult to access backup at times. Software programs like Windows Server Backup tools can make this process easier and allow backups to be stored in one place for easier tracking and access.

6. Security
Virtual systems could be vulnerable when users don’t keep them secure and apply best practices for passwords or downloads. Security then becomes a problem for virtualization, but the isolation of each VM by the system can mitigate security risks and prevent systems from getting breached or compromised.

Unlike some tech solutions, virtualization is not really a “set it and forget it” type of solution. You will need to manage it from the start if you want to be able to get the most out of your systems. This includes ensuring resources are being allocated properly, machines are created and shut down properly, apps and systems are updated, and more.

While virtualized solutions do require less management than their physical counterparts, they still require some management and you will need people to help you do that. One of the best solutions is to work with an IT partner like us who can help manage your systems and ensure that they are working efficiently.
In fact, we offer a wide variety of virtualization solutions. We can take on your virtualization initiatives so that you can focus on running your business. If you would like to learn more, contact us today to see how we can help.

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