Virtualization in the Enterprise

We present how an enterprise IT organization sees virtualization in the enterprise and how it can be applied. We look at key enterprise services and applications used within Intel’s IT department and examine the issues associated with virtualizing servers within the context of those services. We demonstrate that virtual machine (VM) isolation does not extend to performance isolation as we show how applications running in separate VMs can significantly interfere with each other.

Enterprise services depend on host characteristics like available cycles, platform configurations, and on proximity to other services. We define a taxonomy of these dependencies derived from our study. Next, we describe uses of Intel® Virtualization TechnologyΔ (Intel® VT) that we are investigating. The ability to run multiple operating systems (OSs) is of great interest in our design environment where highly specialized tools are tied closely to OS versions.

The ability to checkpoint, suspend, resume, and migrate VMs is very useful when we run long simulations. The ability to allocate VMs at the location of choice opens up other possible use cases, such as network monitoring, security monitoring, and content distribution. We see this capability also enabling safe yet realistic experimentation, as a way to extend virtualization into clients.

Finally, we present a real case study applying virtualization to enterprise IT problems. This virtualization program achieved higher server utilization, made it easier to manage datacenter assets, and reduced the consumption of datacenter resources (floor space, power, etc.), as well as simplified server releases through standardization.

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