Managing virtualization: Virtualization networking FAQ

Virtualization affects the job of every networking professional who uses server virtualization. This FAQ examines virtualization networking questions as answered by a panel of networking and virtualization experts.

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Virtualization has become a vital part of many IT systems; as a result, it affects all aspects of the network. Networking professionals must understand the numerous ways in which server virtualization affects the network, including I/O bottlenecks, bandwidth capacity problems and how virtual switches work in conjunction with the physical network. Our virtualization networking guide many of the problems that arise and what networking professionals can expect from server virtualization.

In this virtualization networking FAQ, our experts answer crucial questions about virtualization networking and how it affects the daily responsibilities of networking professionals.

Expert advice on virtualization networking
         •How server virtualization improves efficiency in a client-server model
         •Monitoring virtual machine performance
         •How to get started with virtualization
         •Virtualizing streaming video servers
         •Four rules for virtual machine migration
         •Good tools, practice for VM change management

  Expert advice on virtualization networking 
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How server virtualization improves efficiency in a client-server model
Q. What are the advantages of virtualization in a client-server model?

A. Well, isn't this one of the most talked about movements in the networking industry? What's interesting about this question is that the evolution of information technology continues to blur the lines of demarcation separating server, application and network...Continue reading.

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Monitoring virtual machine performance
Q. How do you reconcile operating system tools clock cycle identification with non-corresponding or non-awareness of the host clock and the impact on the clock-dependent metrics?

A. This is one of the hardest parts of working with performance monitoring for virtualization -- translating virtual CPU calls to physical ones...>Continue reading.

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How to get started with virtualization
Q. Could you offer some step-by-step advice on how to get started on a virtualization pilot?

A. You can start by reviewing the current product offerings from Microsoft and VMware, for example. Microsoft offers Virtual Server and PC, while VMware offers VMware Server and Desktop, as well as ESX or Virtual Infrastructure platform...Continue reading.

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Virtualizing streaming video servers
Q. My company uses video streaming technologies a great deal. Are there any options for virtualization here?

A. Depending on the performance requirements, front-end Web or database engines delivering the video can most likely be virtualized. However, the servers delivering the video may be another story...Continue reading.

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Four rules for virtual machine migration
Q. What are some of the risks of moving from client/server computing to virtual machines (VMs) and virtual servers? What do you recommend as a best practice to minimize the risks of a physical-to-virtual migration?

A. As with any operation, the best advice is be prepared. The more you know about a particular process, the better equipped you'll be to handle it. Here are my four rules to virtualization migration....Continue reading.

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Good tools, practice for VM change management
Q. We've started using virtual machines in an effort to reduce the number of servers in our data center. Because virtual machines (VMs) are easy to move, we are running into change management issues. Are there automated change management tools we can use? What are good practices for documenting or limiting permissions for changes?

A. You ask a good question about a very common problem. Yes, several change management tools are available, all with significant dependence on what is a very important topic within IT right now: Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL...Continue reading.

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This was first published in September 2010

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