Migration, SharePoint

How to Improve Server Utilization and Reduce Infrastructure Costs with Virtualization

Predicting resource requirements for a new business application, especially one that is customer-facing is a tricky task. It’s hard to know if you have the new Facebook or your hands. You make your best estimates, then spend money on new hardware and hope your estimates were right. Only actual usage tells whether your server infrastructure is running efficiently.

What makes this process more painful is the knowledge that your existing environment probably has the capacity to deliver this application if only the servers were used in a more efficient manner.
Private cloud computing built on virtualization technology provides ways to reduce the capital cost involved in this process by allowing you to utilize more of your existing resources. Using Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and System Center Self-Service Portal 2.0, you can convert your existing workloads into virtual machines and manage where and when they run.

Grouping servers together on hardware as a collection of virtual machines can lower costs and improve performance. The need to increase the performance of some applications to keep up with new demand has traditionally led to hardware purchases or going through a performance tuning exercise. Both involve additional cost that could be avoided with virtualization. Most environments have servers running well under capacity. Pooling these services on fewer servers using virtualization and sharing idle hardware resources across workloads can enable organizations to reduce capital and maintenance costs. Virtualization delivers a higher return on investment and more elastic IT service.

To take advantage of this cloud computing scenario requires some planning to deploy and configure the products to deliver true IT as a service in a private cloud scenario. Finding all the resources to implement this type of solution is can be time consuming. To help, TechNet has created a new virtualization scenario based hub. This one stop location has the resources and content to help you enable different virtualization scenarios. The site is updated regularly with new content and new scenarios.

The scenario mentioned is covered in more detail on the How to Improve Server Utilization and Reduce Infrastructure Costs with Virtualization page.

[Republished Content]


SharePoint 2010 Virtualization Notes

I just wrapped up a great webcast this morning with Avanade and NetApp discussing the virtualization of SharePoint and was excited to see the audience today is largely planning a virtualization layer for SharePoint 2010, many to support server consolidation in legacy datacenters with limited resources understanding that SharePoint’s adoption and improvements in vertical and horizontal scale will result in larger more scenario concentrated deployments, others looking to reduce OpEx and CapEx, and still others looking at virtualization to afford the ability to support resource throttling – providing resources in times of high demand and scaling resources back in times of low demand making the most efficient use of their hosts.

While today’s webcast focused on NetApp storage solutions, Avanade’s deployment and experience, and improvements in SharePoint 2010, I’ve also recently provided a number of Webcasts on TechNet with FPWeb.net and our Hyper-V team here at Microsoft where we discussed not only best practices with SharePoint 2007 and 2010 to include basic topology examples, but also the use of virtualization in hosting scenarios.  Those sessions can be found here:

TechNet Webcast: Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for SharePoint (Level 200)

TechNet Webcast: Deep Dive – Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for SharePoint 2010 (Level 300)

Business continuity management is another area of virtualization discussed across Webcasts, where we enforce the idea that you need to plan for both the virtualization layer and within that, the SharePoint implementation – while it adds some additional complexity when compared to strict physical deployments, it does bring with it compelling opportunities, particularly when looking at the capabilities offered in Hyper-V R2.

Also important when planning virtualization is deciding upon and differentiating between virtualization technology, i.e. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 or Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is an affordable (free) entry point to implementing virtualization with minimal overhead since it provides only the Windows Hypervisor.  Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 provides features such as host clustering, Live Migration, in addition to support 1TB of memory and 8 processors on the host operating system.    If you’re looking to gain application failover or guest virtualization rights you should consider Windows Server 2008 R2.  For additional details on deciding between Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 see the decision matrix here http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx.

To learn more about Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, and the virtualization of a SharePoint 2010 deployment, see also the resources provided below.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2

Virtualization Planning (SharePoint Server 2010)

Virtualization Support and Licensing (SharePoint Server 2010)

TechNet Webcast: Clusters and Virtualization: Guest Clustering vs. Host Clustering (Level 300)

Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog


How Microsoft.com Moved to a Virtualized Infrastructure

Case Studies, Videos, Webcasts

How Microsoft IT Reduced Operating Expenses Using Virtualization

Virtualization Cuts Capital and Operating Expenses by 75 Percent at Microsoft