SOURCE: Bruce Boyers Marketing Services

May 25, 2010 07:42 ET

Maximum Optimization of Virtual Environments

BURBANK, CA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2010) -  Virtualization has revolutionized data centers in many ways. It has made it possible to create servers within minutes for specific functions -- even by users. It has brought us the ability to substantially conserve on hardware resources by running multiple servers within the same hardware platform. It has made it possible to greatly reduce the physical footprints of server farms.

Interestingly, however, there is a "missing link" in the optimization of virtual resources that, if not addressed, can drastically affect virtual performance.

First, there is the issue of file fragmentation. All hard drives suffer from this malady, but virtual systems actually suffer twice as much; there is fragmentation at both the host and guest levels. Additionally, by consolidating 4 - 5 servers into one, a single storage device is forced to work overtime due to the 4 - 5 times increase in I/O traffic. The result is heavy processing bottlenecks.

Second, multiple virtual machines are sharing mutual system resources -- an activity that can become a drain on performance.

Third, when virtual hard disks are set to dynamically grow, they do not then shrink when users or applications remove data. This is a costly waste of space that could otherwise be allocated to other virtual systems.

For the first problem -- fragmentation -- there are, of course, defragmenters that can be implemented. The advanced technology of virtualization, however, requires a more advanced solution. Technology will become available that actually prevents a majority fragmentation both at the guest and host levels, as fragmentation occurs in both places. This makes fragmentation a thing of the past for virtual systems, allowing their innate performance potential to be realized.

The solution to the second problem -- competition for multiple resources -- would be the synchronization of the complex and ongoing activity between host and multiple guest operating systems. In addition to solving file fragmentation, this would mean additional performance optimization for the entire virtual platform.

The third problem, the "bloating" of virtual hard drives, can be solved with tools that allow system personnel to monitor wasted resources and compact virtual disks when required. This facility would allow IT personnel to efficiently allocate virtual storage resources.

These problems put together equal an overall issue in virtual machine optimization. Mutually solved, maximum performance and reliability for high-traffic virtual environments can be fully exploited. When implementing virtualization -- as most enterprises are today -- it is wise to take these issues, and their solutions, fully into account.

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