The TechNet team create useful technical content for IT Managers, and their latest project is absolutely perfect for IT managers who are considering their next step with virtualisation projects.
Predicting resource requirements for a new ICT application, especially one that is widely used, such as a new web service, is a tricky task. It's hard to know the adoption curve that you'll have on your hands. You make your best estimates, then spend money on new hardware and hope your estimates were right. Only actual usage tells whether your server infrastructure is running efficiently. What may make this process more painful is the knowledge that your existing environment probably has the capacity to deliver this application if only the servers were used in a more efficient manner.
Deciding whether, and what form of, virtualisation is appropriate to your needs will require answers to a number of questions. When and where will your usage demand happen, within your organisation or from remote users and external stakeholders? Is there a predictable demand timeframe for some or all of your services? How will back-ups and data compliance be enforced, and where must your data reside to be secure while complying with national guidance?
The TechNet collection of guides will help you to plan how to accomplish your goals with server and services virtualisation technology. It's designed to help IT managers to direct their limited resources to the most efficient activities, even making changes dynamically to utilise resources as demands change during a business day or week — for example, a busy Web server during the week that lays largely unused over the weekend could be repurposed on Friday evening for large database processing jobs and returned to serving Web requests late on Sunday. (Although the scenarios below aren't education specific, the business and technology challenges parallel your own!)