Is your company beginning to talk about server consolidation? Is virtualization new to you? If so, here are five things you need to think about before choosing a virtualization vendor.
The virtualization market is full of vendors for you to choose from. Deciding which virtualization vendor is right for you is not the easiest task if you are not familiar with the virtualization arena. Let's look a the five most important things to think about when choosing a virtualization vendor.
- Cost — Before picking a virtualization vendor, you should research the cost of doing business using this vendor. Fortunately, you are in luck as the virtualization war has caused vendors to give portions of their software away for free in order to get your business. Don't roll over when it comes to price. Play hardball as these vendors are willing to negotiate for your business.
- Customer Support — If you are new to virtualization and are not familiar with the technology, customer/technical support will be an important factor in your decision. I would recommend that you interview each vendor's support model to make sure that you will be able to get help during implementation as opposed to getting the response that you will need to hire our staff to help you implement our products. It always burned me up when I got that answer, and I figured out that they made portions of their product too difficult so that they could generate money.
- Licensing — Licensing in general is the most confusing part of software. Just when you understand what the vendors are talking about, they change the rules. When you're researching a virtualization vendor, they will show you how much cheaper they are than the competitor, but what they fail to tell you is that when you purchase all the necessary licenses, they are MORE expensive. It is very important that you understand each virtualization vendor's licensing model.
- Implementation — Before you choose a vendor, understand how long it will take to implement their technology into your infrastructure. Just because they are cheaper than another vendor doesn't make them cheaper overall. Let's say you save money on the purchase but then need to spend thousands of dollars extra in implementation to get started. It is important to understand how quickly you can implement the software before you make a decision.
- Management Software — There are many vendors that have great virtualization platforms but poor management once the software is installed. It is important to research each vendor's management software for features such as live migration, scripting, CPU management, and high availability across all virtual machine host operating systems.
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