Virtualization is a superpower for many businesses. It allows them to use computing resources better, get cloud-like infrastructure on-premises, and harness strategies like composable computing. But as Peter Parker’s uncle once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” If IT admins aren’t careful, they can make mistakes that reduce virtualization benefits.

The key to successfully using virtualization is to understand its limitations and the pitfalls common to those who use it. We’ll look at seven of the top mistakes that can impact virtualization performance.

1. Not Optimizing the Virtual Machine for Your Applications

How you set up virtual environments will depend on the requirements of your applications. Optimizing your virtual machine (VM) with the right amount of virtual resources and keeping a clean system improves performance and user experience. Getting optimization right requires looking at usage history and factoring in updated application requirements. However, as you’ll see in the next section, you don’t want to go overboard with virtual hardware.  Also of note is network congestion. If you have multiple VMs using a network interface card (NIC), you could experience delays or network failures. So, make sure that you allocate sufficient NICs to support your VMs.

2. Overprovisioning Virtual Hardware

Powerful hardware can make IT admins feel like they have unlimited resources. But when operating at scale, optimization is key to efficiency. While virtual hard drives and RAM may seem limitless, overprovisioning limits the number of virtual machines your servers can handle. Additionally, overprovisioning vCPUs and vRAM can mean that much of your computing resources will go unused.

3. Failing To Retire Unused Virtual Machines

Anyone who’s ever made a mess knows how much harder it is to clean it up. The same goes for virtual machines. It’s common for teams to create them for temporary needs like testing. But what happens to the virtual machines once they’re done? When businesses don’t have policies to shut them down, they sit there taking up space, leaving less room for new VMs. Establish policies that dictate how to handle VMs once they are no longer needed.

4. Overlooking Maintenance

Just like your physical hardware, virtual machines need maintenance. Updating applications, security tools, and monitoring performance logs are good housekeeping practices. When VMs don’t have the latest updates and security patches, they’re more likely to introduce vulnerabilities into your network.

Person signing a contract.

Make sure you stay compliant with your licensing.

5. Ignoring Licensing Details

There’s nothing worse than legal trouble. Just ask someone who’s been pulled over or audited by the IRS. Licensing can be tricky, especially since it’s often tied to the hardware it’s been installed on. Therefore, moving applications or operating systems to different machines could require additional licenses. Make it a priority to understand how many licenses you have available and how changes will affect availability. If you work with a computing partner, consult them on compliance concerns to get peace of mind.

6. Putting Too Much on Your Hardware

A server with 20 virtual machines is already a complex piece of equipment. It will require the maintenance of many different virtual environments and tricky troubleshooting if something goes wrong. Using your servers for multiple purposes can make issues harder to detect and mitigate. By dedicating these servers as single-purpose VM infrastructure, you simplify administration and reduce the odds of runaway processes and hidden errors.

7. Virtualizing With Outdated Hardware

New generations of processors are constantly updated with virtualization enhancements. Using decade-old hardware means that you’re missing out on years of improvements. Also, VM servers are intended to handle the workloads of multiple users. This functionality requires optimized hardware that’s powerful enough to provide users with an experience equivalent to bare metal servers.

Power Your Virtualization With Fully Customizable Server Infrastructure

Virtualization is a powerful tool that can help you use computing resources with extreme efficiency. However, your VMs and the underlying infrastructure must be optimized for your organization’s apps and services to get the most benefit. Optimization requires that you analyze common application needs and the corresponding compute resource requirements.

Our team specializes in building custom hardware solutions for computing use cases in edge, composable, virtualization, and more. This infrastructure is backed by our full-lifecycle support process, covering everything from design to decommissioning. We also help you stay compliant wherever your operations are on the globe. Do you want to talk about how custom server infrastructure can power your virtualization needs? Contact us today.

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