6 Things You Shouldn’t Virtualize
It is no longer possible to run a single OS on a server. Virtual machines are making their way into every area of IT, even the desktop. It’s not surprising. Virtualization offers huge benefits, including centralizing administration, automating failover and redundancy, and reducing hardware footprint.
But, there are some drawbacks to this trend towards total virtualization. Virtualization could actually lead to disaster in the following situations.
Is your system dependent on physical hardware?
Virtualization adds some overhead to system resources. This overhead is not significant in most cases. However, VMs that force heavy hardware loads will not work well with software that defaults to doing so.
It’s becoming less common for software to be hard-coded to specific hardware. Before virtualizing, you should consider the CPU cycles, disk I/O performance, RAM performance, as well as GPU processing.
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Be aware of load balancers, especially database servers. They can often cause performance issues when they are moved to a VM.
Software that requires a specific CPU architecture is a more common hardware problem. Sometimes, the software may be optimized for a specific Intel or AMD instruction set. Even though well-written software may fall back to less efficient code when the wrong type of processor is used, some code will not run if the correct processor is used.
Do not cut corners when using unlicensed software.
Some software vendors are still not catching up to virtualization, besides the obvious legal consequences. They either prohibit licensing in virtual environments, or they only allow it under certain conditions.
For your VDI migration, you might have many Windows 10 licenses. Microsoft licenses virtual instances only if you buy one of their add-on subscriptions. Annual subscriptions can be costly for large-scale environments like campus computing labs at universities.
Is your software supported online?
Many vendors support their applications only on bare metal. This could be problematic if an issue arises. This is where consulting firms often find themselves. For cost savings, a client might want to combine several applications onto one server. The application vendors do not provide support for their software on a VM. The consultant is the one who ends up being the victim if the vendor refuses troubleshooting a problem on a VM.
Pro Tools video editing software is a common culprit. This is due to its limited operating system support. Users discover that the developer does not provide support for virtualized environments, which can lead to problems.
Do not even consider virtualizing a server that is having trouble.
Virtualizing an item with problems is only going to create more problems. It is best to rebuild a server from scratch, then copy or import data.
It can be tempting to save time and clone an old server to a virtual environment. If your plan calls for imaging an aging, patched and hacked server into a virtual environment, it could cost you more in headaches later on. It’s bad enough to fix one server that isn’t working at 3 a.m., but if it causes problems for the entire virtual environment, it can cause more.
It is time to think about high availability.
Virtualization cannot be implemented in a simple way without high availability. It is a guarantee that physical hardware will fail at one point. There is no way to know.