The difficult economy has many IT managers playing defense, as companies cut costs and scrutinize every project. "All of the conversations in IT have shifted, and now have a financial component," said Barb Goldworm, president of Focus Consulting. "Budgets are tight, and everyone has to have a business case. So IT has had to once again become conversant in financial metrics like TCO. If it's not critical to your business, it's getting put on hold."
But it's still possible to get approval for virtualization projects that can transform your IT operations, according to Goldworm, who spoke at last week's Blade Systems Insight conference in Las Vegas. She said virtualization projects not only pay their way, but offer significant hero points for managers who can execute.
"Virtualization is one of those projects that is not getting back-burnered because it saves dollars," said Goldworm. "This is the place where IT gets to be the good guys and contribute to the bottom line. This is where IT gets to change its perception in the organization."
Most virtualization projects have focused on eliminating large numbers of physical servers by consolidating workloads into virtual machines, improving utilization in the process.
"Server consolidation is the no-brainer of virtualization," said Goldworm. "But if you stop at (server consolidation), you are leaving money on the table. Consolidation is easy, but it doesn't change the way you do business. Advanced management is really what will give you the full benefits of virtualization. Management tools atop virtualization improve efficiency and lower dependence on IT staff. The next benefit (of advanced management) is service delivery and accelerating the speed of deployment."