Microsoft touts benefits of server virtualisation


PETALING JAYA: When Microsoft Malaysia presented server virtualisation to its customers in 2005, many were not prepared for it. The situation is different today, the software giant said.

Ramesh Rajandran, product marketing manager at Microsoft Malaysia, said its server virtualisation market share in Malaysia has grown from just 2% in 2005 to 30% currently.

“Our customers are beginning to better understand server virtualisation. They are also asking sophisticated questions,” he said on the sidelines of the Microsoft Virtualisation Summit 2010 in Kuala Lumpur.

Server virtualisation enables businesses to run multiple operating systems on a single server. This gives them the flexibility to consolidate and manage computing resources more efficiently, whether physically or virtually.

Two Microsoft customers — semiconductor manufacturer Carsem (M) Sdn Bhd and Monash University’s Bandar Sunway Campus — deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Carsem group IT manager, Ratnam Subramaniam, said virtualisation has helped the company overcome obstacles when it is pressed for time, such as when it is about to introduce new software into the market.

“Before we had virtualisation, we had to procure additional equipment regularly to test our products. The procurement part is easy but convincing senior management that you need the equipment is not,” he said.

Through virtualisation, no additional equipment is needed. You create the software environment you need on existing hardware. With this virtualised environment, application testers can immediately test their programs, which hastens the go-to-market process.

Saves money

Monash uses virtualisation to improve educational tasks at the university. According to Edmund Turner, head of IT services at Monash, virtualisation provides the institution with a lot of flexibility in this area.

“If a lecturer wants a server to run a demonstration for his class, we don’t even break a sweat now,” Turner said, explaining that virtual environments can be set up quickly on its server.

Without that flexibility, it would mean maintaining a server specifically for each type of software environment.

According to Monash’s IT architect, Rizlan Shah, the university enabled server virtualisation about a year-and-a-half ago and this has positively impacted the department’s budget.

“We experienced a 40% savings in our budget because we now only buy new equipment when we really need to,” he said.

Getting to that point was not easy, according to Rizlan and Ratnam. There were several hurdles to overcome, such as getting colleagues to understand virtualisation, knowing the right infrastructure to put in place, and getting the know-how to manage it all.

Also, they said, sometimes virtualisation is not feasible in a network, such as when a company server’s processing power is already being used 100%. “But these cases are rare,” Rizlan added.

Expanding

Microsoft expects the virtualisation adoption rate to continue growing in Malaysia.

Ramesh said more than 8% of the new servers purchased last year were virtualised, and he expects this to increase as more customers begin to deploy applications and services in a virtual environment, as part of their consolidation, green technology and disaster recovery strategies.

“We will continue to educate customers and provide them with the right tools to enable their organisations to become more agile and cost efficient,” he said.

In Malaysia, there more than 50 solutions partners trained to deliver Microsoft’s virtualisation solutions. There are also Microsoft virtualisation courses offered at certified learning centres nationwide, which cover a range of topics, such as infrastructure assessment and planning, configuration, deployment and support.

Expertise in all of these areas is an important aspect of deploying a successful virtualisation solution, Ramesh added.

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