Nelson and Danielle Ruest (Victoria, British Columbia, IT Pro)

The Future of your Server Room

Rick and I recently got the chance to meet a couple (a married couple) of MVPs from Victoria, B.C.  They have something in common with us as they also tour delivering technical sessions on what's new, what's coming and why you should care. They've blogged here before on the e-book they are publishing and submitted this "review" of the Future of The Server Room tour event in Vancouver.

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Kudos to Rodney Buike and Rick Claus of the Canadian IT Pro team for an excellent job on their current road show: the Future of your Server Room. Nelson and I recently had the opportunity to attend the first two sessions of this road show in Vancouver. The first is focused on upcoming new features in Windows Server 2008 and the second is all about Microsoft virtualization offerings. What makes this road show an absolute must are the demos Rick and Rodney put together. Both have worked really hard to show off all of the greatest features of the products they are touting: Windows Server 2008, Server Core, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and more. Fortunately for the Canadian audience, Rick and Rodney choose not to use the canned demos prepared by headquarters, but rather, to build their very own demos. This makes them very pertinent and much more ‘real world’. Again congrats guys!

If you haven’t had a chance to attend the show, don’t despair. There is still one show left on the 30th of May in Toronto (https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/eventdetail.aspx?culture=en-ca&eventid=1032334142) and if you can’t make it, Rick and Rodney said they will record the Toronto session and make the recordings available on the Canadian IT Pro Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/canada/technet/community/community.aspx). Check it out when it becomes available, you won’t regret it.

The topic is most pertinent. Nelson and I are doing a 20-city road show in the US on the same topic: Server Consolidation (http://events.techtarget.com/consolidation). We’re talking to sold out venues. It seems everyone is interested in server virtualization today. Think about it. Microsoft has changed the licensing program for Windows Server 2003 R2. If you buy a licence of WS03 R2 Enterprise Edition, you not only get the licence to install on the physical host, but you also get 4 free licence's for virtual instances of the OS. This makes virtualization a no brainer because you save 75% of the licence cost when you virtualize the OS! And this no matter which technology you choose to use as your virtualization platform!

2007 is the year of virtualization. Microsoft is releasing System Center Virtual Machine Manager which is currently in beta (http://connect.microsoft.com/vmm), is updating Softgrid for Vista (http://www.softricity.com/) and will be releasing Windows Server Virtualization (WSV) once WS08 is released later this year (http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/b/9/5b97017b-e28a-4bae-ba48-174cf47d23cd/SER125_WH06.ppt). WSV will make OS virtualization part of all datacenters once and for all. If you haven’t begun looking at the possibilities inherent in OS virtualization, then do so now. According to research firm IDC, 15% of datacenters were relying on OS virtualization as of January. You can expect that this number will be much higher by the end of the year. So if you’re not doing it, then you need to get ready for it as soon as possible.

Nelson and I outline a five step program for consolidating your servers and optimizing your infrastructure. This five-step program lets you first, identify what you currently have, then look to new technologies to see how you can reduce IT administration overhead by relying on technologies such as OS virtualization. You can download information on the five step program by going to http://www.reso-net.com/presentation.asp?m=7 and downloading the presentation named Consolidation Roadmap. In addition, we are writing a series of articles based on our roadmap for TechTarget.com (http://searchwincomputing.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid68_gci1252769,00.html?track=sy43). In addition, we are writing a book on Longhorn or WS08: Windows Server 2008: The Complete Reference for McGraw-Hill Osborne. The whole premise of this book is how to build the datacenter of the future by relying on virtualization. Look for it on bookshelves by November 2007.

Meanwhile, download, learn and play with OS virtualization technologies. You’ll see. Once your server operating systems are ‘liberated’ from the hardware they run on, anything is possible: high availability, business continuity and much more. And, if you need advice or more information on how to move to virtualization, feel free to contact us. Nelson and I are always happy to help!

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Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest, MCSE, MCT, Microsoft MVP, are IT professionals specializing in systems administration, migration planning, software management and architecture design. Both work for Resolutions Enterprises Ltd., a consulting firm focused on Windows System Infrastructures. They are authors of multiple books, and are currently working on the Complete Reference for Windows Server Longhorn for Osborne McGraw-Hill as well as an eBook on Vista Migration. For more information, or to access their free downloadable articles, Webcasts and presentations, go to www.reso-net.com.