Virtualization is a new way that organizations have been utilizing IT solutions such as email hosting to save some much needed cash. While the adoption rate of this technology is rather healthy, many organizations are still struggling to adopt it because of the time they need to take to meddle around with it, Technology Services Team Leader Drew Poynton at the University of Melbourne recently revealed.
Poynton is the manager of the university's Active Directory solution, email hosting platform, and other Microsoft (News - Alert) solutions. He and his team serve the university's entire Windows Server infrastructure, putting 110,000 students and staff members online. Along with that, his team also manages the virtual environment, which runs on VMware.
Melbourne University was particularly slow in adopting virtualization for its IT resources, spending a number of years in the process. Its resources consist of ten servers that each power 60 virtual machines on average. Poynton's team has managed to migrate three quarters of the university's IT infrastructure to a virtualized environment, including the email hosting solution. This effort has transformed what small amount of hardware the university had into a powerhouse that saves the institution a significant amount of money. Poynton's approach, though, revolves around the belief that virtualization could be achieved at a much faster pace.
"Some people take it too slow and put it in thinking, 'OK, we'll play around with it and test it.' It's proven technology now. Three to four years ago people were still a bit iffy about it, but now it's proven and nearly everything has some form of virtualization in it," he said when speaking to ZDNet at TechEd 2012. He puts a strong emphasis on planning and making sure that people who use the technology can understand it easily.
He added, "These days, it's quite simple to set up the environment, and it's easy to fall into the traps if you don't know exactly what you are doing, so you can hit bottlenecks quite quickly. So, as long as you set up the best practice and have people that are trained well enough in the environment, there's no need for a long testing period. Just get in there and give it a go."
Email hosting solutions like Microsoft Exchange can easily be virtualized within VMware's vSphere. It can easily be consolidated by assigning roles to shared servers instead of dedicating the entire infrastructure to hardware that will continue burning watts even when there's no activity. This makes email hosting much more manageable.
If you're already churning bandwidth through servers that are hosting other Web services, it's probably time to do as Poynton said and act now, moving your email hosting solution from a dedicated server onto a number of shared servers with roles proportional to the amount of power demanded by the services they currently host.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein