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Designing Your Virtual Landscape

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Using PlateSpin Solutions to Assess and Refine Your Virtual Data Center

Server consolidation is a hot topic these days. According to industry reports, it's not uncommon for companies to see less than 20 percent processor utilization in their data center. Clearly, everyone wants to get more from their existing data center resources while avoiding costly hardware purchases and saving power, reducing cooling requirements and preserving precious data center space. But no one wants to push their data center to the brink of failure either.

While the concept of server consolidation is a no-brainer, practical implementation requires careful and thoughtful analysis-and an actual plan-to ensure its success. This three-part series will focus on how to best assess, deploy and refine your virtual infrastructure using PlateSpin Recon and PlateSpin Migrate products.

  • Article One: Consolidation Planning
    The first article in this three-part series provides tips and tricks for consolidation planning in your virtualized data center using PlateSpin Recon 3.7. At the end of this exercise, you'll have an executable plan that can be imported into PlateSpin Migrate to accelerate implementation of your virtualized data center.
  • Article Two: Resource Allocation: Implementing and Testing Your Virtualized Data Center
    The second article in this series will focus on automating the actual implementation process using PlateSpin Migrate. It will also discuss the vital role that testing plays in ensuring successful implementation.
  • Article Three: Sustainability: Optimizing Workloads and Automating Chargebacks
    The third and final article in this series will examine how ongoing performance optimization of your virtual infrastructure helps minimize risks and achieve maximum ROI. Many competitive products only focus on initial data center design, leading to virtual sprawl and diminished returns over time. Using PlateSpin Recon, you can continually optimize ongoing workload performance and perform departmental chargebacks.

Consolidation Planning

Performing upfront planning and analysis is the best way to ensure successful data center consolidation. A well-conceived consolidation plan not only helps you achieve a healthy ROI, but it also helps to ensure success by mitigating associated risks.

In setting out to create your plan, you need to understand two important concepts:

  • First, everyone wants to maximize their return on investment and achieve optimal use of their data center resources. However, keep in mind that effective virtualization is an ongoing process of refinement, not a one-time event. If you view consolidation as a one-time event, you'll often overestimate the capabilities of your infrastructure. The goal should be successful technology adoption (from the perspective of both IT staff and end users) as well as sustainability. When virtualizing non-critical test or development servers, you can be more aggressive than when dealing with business-critical servers.
  • Second, think outside the box-beyond servers-to consider your environment and eco-friendly design. While maximizing server utilization is a key consideration, also consider power, cooling and rack space as part of your planning criteria. A green design can save you plenty of green over time.

PlateSpin Recon provides insights into both of these areas.

Tip: Harvest the lowest-hanging fruit through multiple rounds of virtualization.

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PlateSpin Recon

PlateSpin Recon (formerly PowerRecon) has been around since 2005. Version 3.7, released in mid-October of this year, is a sophisticated workload profiling and analysis solution that provides new levels of intelligence, visual analysis and forecasting for planning and continually optimizing the physical and virtual infrastructure in your data center. Its ability to quickly and accurately collect actual workload inventory and utilization data makes it ideal for virtualization modeling and analysis, capacity planning, ROI consolidation calculation, ongoing performance optimization and departmental chargeback.

Preserving Your Environment

With broad support for Windows, Linux and UNIX, PlateSpin Recon keeps your data center options open. It greatly simplifies multiplatform server consolidation of the following:

  • 32- and 64-bit Windows, Linux and NetWare servers, as well as Solaris and AIX servers (Note: PlateSpin Recon 3.7 now gathers inventory and utilization data for AIX, which can be used for consolidation planning.)
  • All leading hypervisors: VMware ESX and ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and SUSE Linux Enterprise with integrated Xen hypervisor

Getting Started: Creating Your Consolidation Plan Using PlateSpin Recon 3.7

While PlateSpin Recon can be used in many ways, this article focuses on the solution's ability to inventory and monitor your data center resources to improve server utilization. The goal is to create the most efficient plan for consolidating workloads on the fewest number of servers, while maintaining performance and minimizing resource contention.

Although this exercise focuses on creating an initial deployment plan to determine the optimal number of virtualized workloads on your physical server inventory, the same process can be used for ongoing data center optimization. For example, you can use the described process to determine hardware purchase strategies to better allocate your existing virtualized resources or even relocate your data center.


  • article 1 of 3:
    Designing Your Virtual Landscape
  • article 2 of 3:
    Building Your Virtual Landscape Without Messy Disruptions
  • article 3 of 3:
    Environmental Sustainability
  • Figure 1

    Physical hosts can be inventoried by host name, CSV file, Windows domain, IP range, subnet or by using SNMP.

  • Figure 2

    Collected inventory data is related to the platform on which the workload is running, operating system processes, disk drives, network adapters and installed applications.

  • Figure 3

    Report attributes can be edited by right clicking on the selected report and selecting edit.

  • Figure 4

    ScaleOut and ScaleUp Scenario reports allow you to determine the most cost-effective hardware systems for running your virtual environment.

  • Figure 5

    PlateSpin Recon can project the 24-hour profile of each type of host being considered.

  • Figure 6

    Once a scenario is selected, the plan can be easily saved for implementation by exporting it to a PlateSpin Migrate server.

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