I’ve been involved in shrinking downtime and ensuring business data availability for most of 27 years – so when Stratus offered me a chance to contribute to their blog, I couldn’t say no.

Whenever you consider an evolutionary, even revolutionary, improvement to an IT process, there are almost always options and ramifications. Choosing how you will embrace server virtualization in business-critical environments is one of those scenarios.

GOOD – Yay, you’re embracing server virtualization! You’re likely evolving beyond just physical server consolidation and are gaining benefits such as faster provisioning, better protection/recovery options, and flexible resource sharing.

That’s great. This is where everyone comes into the conversation. The question now is how you’ll move forward even further.

BETTER – Be smart about how you deploy and manage your virtualization infrastructure. For many organizations, this implementation will include “building blocks” made of hyperconverged appliances and/or converged infrastructure stacks. The goal is to provide a better underlying layer that will provide a solid foundation for the server virtualization that resides above it.

This is the same reason that most organizations do not build their own servers from PC components sold at Fry’s or Best Buy. Yes, you could acquire similar CPUs and hard drives, but if your business relies on the hardware, you start with commercial servers and storage – and perhaps later evolve to incorporate blades or CI/HC components.

But after you’ve put VMware ESX on each of the servers, you won’t care who the manufacturer is, will you? Well, you will – because insufficient servers will continually hinder what you were trying to achieve in the first place.

The more quality that you invest in the underlying “plumbing” of your infrastructure, the less you’ll focus on the components, and the more assured you’ll be that you’re unlocking the benefits of virtualization above it.

BEST – If the difference between Good and Better is superior underlying infrastructure nodes, then the difference between Better and Best is an infrastructure that not only is made of quality components, but also is durable and resilient. In much the same way that you chose commercial servers instead of self-built gear (even though virtualization abstracts those details away), consider choosing an even “better-than-commercial” virtualization host for the same reason – to get a more reliable underlying infrastructure for the VMs that your business is depending on.

With that in mind, here’s an ESG video that discusses the Stratus plus VMware solution stack:

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You can check out all of ESG’s data protection coverage at http://www.esg-global.com/blog/author/jason-buffington

Jason Buffington (@JBuff) is the Principal Analyst at ESG focusing on all forms of data protection, preservation, and availability. He has actively deployed or consulted on data protection and storage solutions for 27 years, working at channel partners, various data protection software vendors, and Microsoft.”