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Building a Virtual Infrastructure

Gary Wroblewski
Application Coordinator
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow
College of Health Professions
 What is virtualization?
 Who are the major vendors
 Why do we need it or want it?
 Where can we use it?
 How can we use virtualization to increase our
customer responsiveness?
 How did we plan and deploy it?
 Any lessons?
What is virtualization?
Virtualization is a term that refers to the abstraction
of computer resources.
This includes making a single physical resource
(such as a server, an operating system, an
application, or storage device) appear to function
as multiple logical resources.
The principal of virtualization was founded in the
days of mainframe computers, and has been
around since the 1960’s.
Virtualization software options
 Microsoft Virtual Server
 VMware
 Workstation
 VMware Server
 Free
 Runs on top of Windows/Linux
 ESX server
 Datacenter class management and scalability
 Redhat based Kernel
 Xen
 Linux based platform
 Open Source
 Only supports Linux VM’s currently.
Virtual Machine Ware
Software that allocates portions of hardware to act as virtual
servers, yet exist on the same physical machine.
Who uses VMWare?
Why virtualize?
 Server Consolidation
 Disaster Recovery
 Software testing and validation
Nitty Gritty details…
 Partitioning
 Multiple applications and operating systems can be supported within a single
physical system
 Servers can be consolidated into virtual machines on either a scale-up or scale-out
 Computing resources are treated as a uniform pool to be allocated to virtual
machines in a controlled manner
 Encapsulation
 Complete virtual machine environment is saved as a single file; easy to back up,
move and copy
 Standardized virtualized hardware is presented to the application - guaranteeing
 Isolation
 Virtual machines are completely isolated from the host machine and other virtual
machines. If a virtual machine crashes, all others are unaffected
 Data does not leak across virtual machines and applications can only communicate
over configured network connections
Our Business Case and Analysis
 Measures to evaluate our technology services
 Cost
 Manageability – does it fit our knowledge, skills and
 Direct cost of HW/SW
 Ongoing support costs
 R&R
 How Responsive are we to new customer requests
 How Reliable is the service we provide
Issues we faced.
 Servers get old….
 Hardware failure:
 Days or weeks to purchase, install, configure new server.
 Interruption of service.
 No “spare” server available to bring into service on
 Expanding need for services
 Number of servers has grown from 4 to 7 since 2003….not
including test and dev systems.
 Non-efficient use of resources:
 Server CPU utilization is low: 5-8% per server.
 Software often does not play nice….
 Applications work best when isolated.
 Easier to troubleshoot problems when isolated.
Performance chart…

Typical server deployments achieve an average utilization of only 10% to 15% of

total capacity, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), a market
research firm.
Why did we make the change?
 Video server crashed
 How long will it take to buy, build, install and
configure a new video server?
 Easy to bring services up on existing virtual
 Once we saw that it worked fine, no reason to go
 Testing on original physical server showed a peak
streaming capacity of ~300 users…
 Testing on new virtual server showed a capacity of
~250 users.
Network Performance of VM’s
90% of native
performance for

What we learned
 Near native performance was more than enough to
meet our day to day requirements.
 Virtualization allows us much more flexibility and
 Failover to another host.
 Clone VM to new instance.
 Snapshot system when making changes to allow
The future….
 New systems are provisioned as virtual machines.
 Typically new systems can be up and running in 2-4
hours from the request time.
 Pilots being run on virtualizing end user desktops.
 Regular replacement, maintenance, and upgrades
will be performed with near zero downtime.
 Applications that can be provided as VM’s have
clear advantage for deployment.
 Virtualization allows you to build flexibility into
your IT environment.
 Backup and Recovery, Provisioning, Software testing
and validation.
 Applications do not even know that they are
running in a virtualized OS.
 Behavior is exactly as they would on physical box.
 Resource allocation means you can give it exactly as
much as it needs and no more.
 Vmware ESX does not have capability to allocate
 Requires new skills and knowledge to setup and