10 Questions To Ask Your Virtualization Vendor

Thinking of undertaking a virtualization project for your organization in order to achieve across the board cost savings in IT operations? The following research my prove helpful to your efforts as well as the ten best questions to ask your vendors during the evaluation process.

According to a recent survey and published research report by Wikibon,  a highly virtualized infrastructure that leverages an integrated stack across storage, backup, networking, management and security will cut IT costs dramatically over the next five years. Organizations should expect such a strategy to reduce overall IT budgets by more than 10%. The majority of savings (75%+) will come from operations (25%), servers (16%), facilities (14%) and software development (10%).

The journey to a virtualized infrastructure is a multi-year initiative. Many organizations already have aggressive strategies to virtualize applications such as development and test and are moving to virtualizing additional workloads such as database, CRM, and data marts. SaaS offerings are early adopters of virtualization, as the management and security tools and processes can be provided at the application level. The roadmap will allow applications with very high performance and security requirements, and eventually applications that support life and death process control system, to move onto the virtualized stack. There will always be some systems that for specific reasons will be unsuitable to be transferred to a virtualized infrastructure, but over the next decade they will become increasingly rare.

The likely benefits to both the IT budget and to the business of a more flexible, service-led strategy providing solutions more quickly at lower cost with better business resilience and lower business risk, are real. One of the most difficult things to maintain during in this transition is a clear strategic direction. Selecting appropriate business partners and technologies for the journey in each of the five areas will be crucial to realizing those benefits and avoiding costly redesigns.

10 Questions to ask your vendor

In order to minimize the time to create the virtualized infrastructure stack and drive the maximum business efficiency, users should be ensure that the products and services consumed by IT are compatible and complementary to the journey. Here are ten questions that strategic IT leaders should be asking of IT vendors:

  1. What is your roadmap with respect to integrating with VMware API’s?
  2. What is your vision for delivering infrastructure as a service?
  3. Can your software tell me what resource the virtual environment is consuming, how much is it consuming, from where and how is that trending over time?
  4. Can you help me manage SLAs and specifically tell me if I am meeting SLAs, and if not why not?
  5. When will you be able to exploit the vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) and specifically changed block tracking (CBT)?
  6. What are your committed deliverables on the vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI), and can one see across the “layer of obscurity” between the storage team and the virtualization team through integration with VMware??
  7. When will you support thin provisioning and automated tiered storage transparently, and will this integrate with VMware?
  8. What is your multi-pathing strategy and roadmap?
  9. Can you demonstrate how to put together a cohesive security platform to achieve compliance, transparency in operations, recoverability, and data assurance?
  10. When will you be able to demonstrate that you can support a virtual app as the endpoint of the network versus a port?

Crisp answers to these questions is a clear indication that the supplier is investing in VMware integration and can potentially deliver the type of value we've projected in this research. Unclear answers should be a red flag.


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