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7 Big Virtualisation Project Questions: Answered

Thursday 16 August 2018 Virtualisation

Dominic Rowles's picture
By Dominic Rowles

Virtualising network functions or core elements of your IT infrastructure can bring huge flexibility, security and cost advantages to your business. But embarking on a major virtualisation project can be difficult – and to make things even trickier, no two virtualisation projects look exactly alike.

To help you understand where you are in your virtualisation journey, and to help you take the right first steps in your own projects, we’ve answered seven of the most important questions you need to ask before starting a project of your own.

Question 1: Do I need to virtualise if I want to improve network security?

One of the biggest questions to answer before you jump into a major virtualisation project is whether you need to virtualise at all, or if you’re just looking to improve network security.

Often, we see companies rush into virtualisation with a solution that also delivers security. Then, months down the line, they spend so much time configuring virtualised functions they don’t really need, that security ends up suffering anyway.

The key to overcoming this is understanding exactly what your business’ goals are for virtualisation. Once you understand the primary goal for the project, you can ensure all stakeholders remain aligned to it throughout, and that you ultimately deploy a solution tailored to what your business really needs.

Proper business & process analysis are key. Technologists may find this limiting or boring, but for businesses it is essential.

Question 2: Will virtualisation help me ‘fix’ troublesome processes?

Virtualisation of your network is a big change that demands an end to end look at the way your business operates. Only by fully understanding your operations can you ensure that virtualisation will support the right process improvements.

Proper business and process analysis is required to make sure the solution ties in to your current workflow, and to identify opportunities for adding new efficiencies to your processes. For technologists this might seem limiting or even feel boring at times, but for the business it is essential.

Question 3: How will virtualisation impact culture in my business?

The way in which a virtualisation solution works is very different from traditional deployments. It’s going to enable you to approach networking in an entirely new way, so it demands a significant cultural shift and change of working practice.

Plan early, involve all relevant parties at the earliest possible stage, and ensure full engagement before selecting and purchasing a new virtualisation solution. By doing that, you can ensure you choose a solution that your people will be able to easily adapt to culturally, instead of forcing an unwelcome cultural change on them.

Question 4: Who needs to be involved in my virtualisation project?

Network virtualisation is a fundamental change across the business that can affect multiple departments. Naturally, some departments will be better prepared for change than others, but you should try to involve senior representatives from as many departments as possible in your change team.

Everyone needs to know what’s coming, have their say in what it looks like for them, and understand how network virtualisation is going to impact them before you go live with your new deployment.

Question 5: How can I tell if my data is ready for virtualisation?

Moving your applications into a virtualised environment is all well and good, but if you don’t have clean data to integrate, you will start with a broken environment – and things will only get worse from there!

Before you do anything, make sure you get a clear data strategy together. Map out your application data to understand what you need to access, what you can clean, and what you can either quarantine or get rid of entirely.

Question 6: Should I prioritise security, flexibility, or cost savings?

When it comes to virtualising, your business has a lot of options. You can deploy a solution that delivers security, flexibility, or helps you reduce costs – but it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to get all three at the same time.

Lower costs will often mean less flexibility, higher flexibility ends up impacting security, and the best security can end up increasing your operating costs.

Decide your strategic priorities before you commence. Decide which two of these objectives are most important to you and deploy with them in mind. Set the third to the side for now, as trying to gain all three can often result in you gaining nothing at all.

Question 7: How can I help everyone make the most of new automation capabilities, while staying in control of costs?

Virtualisation brings automation of service to everyone. Your IT users will now have an all-you-can-eat buffet of capability and may not have the rigour to optimise and consider cost control.

Produce a service catalogue that offers the right balance between flexibility for the consumer and governance for the business. You will have to relinquish control, but you can create a sandbox and a set of monitoring tools to stop a major licensing problem before it’s too late.

Need help? Talk to the virtualisation experts

If you’re planning your own network or infrastructure virtualisation project – or if you’re just starting out and looking for more detailed answers to some of the questions covered in this blog – talk to us.

CACI - Network Services has a wealth of experience helping companies of all sizes understand the virtualisation opportunity. We help our customers plan and execute complex virtualisation projects with ease.

To find out how we can help you do the same, talk to us by calling +44 (0)20 762 6000 or visiting our Cloud & Virtualisation page today.

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The 7 most important questions you need to ask before starting a virtualisation project.

7 Big Virtualisation Project Questions: Answered