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The business benefits of virtualization are enormous for streamlining network performance, minimizing capital expenses, and scaling your operations for growth. But what do you do when your server virtualization project doesn’t go as planned or when a deeper problem prevents you from virtualizing your servers in the first place? The possibilities for virtual infrastructure are virtually limitless, making it difficult to predict the challenges you may encounter while deploying a virtual platform.

In this post, we’ll explain some of the most common server virtualization challenges, so you’re better prepared to overcome them. If any of these challenges have held you back in the past, we’ll also cover straightforward solutions to each problem.

Virtual Machine (VM) Sprawl

Virtualization sprawl occurs when the number of virtual machines (VMs) operating on a network reaches a critical point where network administrators can no longer efficiently manage them. In the past, deploying a new device on a network represented a considerable amount of time, effort, and money, thereby minimizing the number of devices on a network before it got out of control.

On the other hand, because VMs on a virtualized server are easy to create, they can quickly undo the consolidation benefits virtualization offers. That’s because it can be difficult to track who needs particular VMs on the server and who is using them. As a result, you can lose the performance optimization benefits when resources aren’t balanced.

The solution? Fortunately, VMs are just as easy to destroy as they are to create, so your organization needs specific policies and procedures in place for tracking the creation, use, and management of VMs. These procedures can allow you to see precisely how your virtual environment is being used and how it can operate even more efficiently.

Congested Network Traffic

Too many VMs operating on a server can also result in network congestion. Because a virtual server is partitioned into separate virtual devices while still running on a singular network device, network loads on a server can surpass the capabilities of the physical hardware itself. When particular applications or processes are sensitive to latency issues, your team can experience errors, poor performance, and crashes.

To overcome this problem, you can upgrade server ports to deliver the network bandwidth applications needed to operate on a virtual server simultaneously. You can also explore the possibility of rebalancing workloads and prioritizing bandwidth-hungry VMs.

A Single Point of Failure

If you have five different applications running simultaneously via VMs on a virtualized server, what happens if that server stops working? Without a business continuity plan in place, you lose access to all five of those applications. A virtualized server, then, can represent a single point of failure for multiple applications or processes.

While you can proactively mitigate the risk of server hardware failure in the first place, it’s also an excellent plan to implement server architecture with integrated failover systems in place. That way, any affected workloads, applications, and data storage automatically carry over to another working server until you can get the malfunctioning server back up and running.

Struggles With Software Licensing

Although licensing varies depending on the software vendor, cloning a VM doesn’t necessarily mean all of the software and operating system licenses will carry over. As a result, you may end up having to purchase separate licenses for each VM you create within a virtualized system. Before deploying any new software with a virtualized solution, be sure to review and understand the licensing agreement and confirm that it offers the scalability you need. Failure to comply with licensing terms can result in legal fees and even open your organization up to a lawsuit; so taking the time to understand each vendor’s licensing plans is well worth it.

The Los Angeles IT Support and Virtualization Experts

If any of these challenges have prevented you from implementing virtualization strategies on your network, contact the experts at Be Structured today. We’ve already helped dozens of Los Angeles–area businesses overcome these hurdles, and we’re ready to help your organization next.