Comparing virtualisation alternatives: What’s best for your business?

Virtualisation on an enterprise level has developed into a significant strategy for organisations that are watching costs, but do not want to adversely impact service levels.

The increasing need for agility in market response is also pushing more and more organisations to implement virtualisation on an organisational level, with increasing numbers of VM images being deployed every day. Virtualisation provides both an isolation and prioritisation of resources that allows a single platform to function as if it were split into multiple machines. The conjunction of today's technology-driven business marketplace with the economic climate pushes organisations into a continual search for higher efficiencies and better leveraging of IT resources.

Virtualisation is one of the most powerful tools in the achievement of increased leverage and efficiency of those resources, while positioning organisations strategically for a cloud-computing model. The choice of virtualisation method and platform can be challenging, as businesses struggle to understand the change in challenges to their information delivery processes, support staffing, and the different, critical decision elements that need to be considered.

Since the impact of virtualisation forms an underlying contribution to an organisation that is a diffuse layer within the IT infrastructure, IBM engaged Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. (SIL) to conduct surveys, gather data, and perform analysis to provide a clear understanding of the benefits and relative costs that can be seen when organisations implement IBM z/VM as part of their IT architecture. This analysis has been primarily directed at the value of virtualisation from a business perspective, so that those whose role it is to provide business leadership can understand the benefit of the IBM z/VM virtualization offerings when evaluating its selection.

During this study, the main behavioural characteristics of software and hardware were examined closely, within a large number of actual customer sites. All of these customers include organisations that have deployed virtualisation as part of their production environments. This group has organisations that maintain both single virtualisation standard and those that allow a heterogeneous mixture of virtualisation methods and mechanisms. The information from these customer reports, and the accompanying mass of real-world details is invaluable, since it provides a realistic, rather than theoretical, understanding of how the use of different types of virtualisation can affect the customer.

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