Lawyer Bait

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Virtualization - The Shiny New Cabbage Patch Kids?

I have been talking to companies recently about their virtualization projects both planned and underway, and one of the undercurrents seemed to be that Virtualization was the shiny new toy they just had to have. As I peeled back the layers of questions around why start a project and how is it going, I got some great fodder for a blog entry. Then I soon realized that I've been in IT long enough to remember Cabbage Patch Kids and the frenzy over them, and that there is a similarity here in the frenzy.

Those of you who remember Cabbage Patch Kids know of what I speak. To the younger folks in the VirtualizationStuff audience it was like Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and texting rolled into one package - in this case a cute doll (low tech). And if you were a parent, you might not have even understood the need to have a Cabbage Patch Kid, but boy, if you didn't have one under the tree that year for Christmas... Well I won't go there.

Fast forward 20 years and Virtualization has become the new Cabbage Patch Kid. Everybody better have a project underway or planned or... Well I WILL go there because there is too much Lemming-esque behavior out there, and I think we need to put the safety on the Howitzer.

Some intial questions I would ask no matter what rung of the ladder you're on:

What do we gain for the Company, specifically, for deploying Virtualization technology?

What does my group gain, specifically, for deploying Virtualization technology?

What is the goal - in dollars- to both spend and save by deploying Virtualization technology?

What is the cost today of running our infrsatructure? Don't forget Power, Cooling, patching, network admin, application admin, audting functions, compliance costs, change controls, process changes, and backup. Here is my personal case in point:

A few years ago I wanted a home theater system to listen to the battle scenes from Braveheart (I'm Scottish) with the full effect. I called a buddy at SHARP the electronics folks and he told me about a high end unit that never sold well, and they were having a fire sale on eBay. So I got a $1000 system for $150. I win, yea me.

The package shows up, I unpack it, get totally psyched because my wife is out running errands which means once it's plugged in, the neighbors will be be hearing William Wallace's 'Freedom' Speech as if they were standing on the pitch themselves. And then wondering what the thundering noise is as the British Army's horses charge the Scots.

I get everything laid out, and then go to plug the cables into the TV and... The TV is so old that it only has the jack for the coax from the cable box. So this $150 great deal meant that I was now having to go out and spend $700 on a new TV.

I wanted home theater
I thought I got a great deal (and did - I still use the system)
I did everything right (or so I thought)
It cost me 3X in the end diminishing any real savings, and the credibility hit I took with my wife was unprecedented. 'Isn't that Freedom Speech a little tinny with that single speaker on the TV?'

So think it through. If you haven't covered all the angles and showed the tangible cost savings and expenditures in the detail required to make a good business decision then wait until you do. You may end up like William Wallace if you dont...

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