Businesses and other organizations that are ready to move toward virtualized infrastructure would do well to work with an IT consulting firm when developing a budget for the virtualization process. Contrary to popular perception, moving to virtualization involves all three kinds of costs usually associated with IT projects: hardware, software, and labor.
Among tangible costs, the most obvious one in the hardware category is server virtualization. Initial costs will include items related to CPU, memory, and network connections. These are widely variable depending on the exact configuration preferred. Another initial cost is installation, while ongoing costs include power consumption as well as maintenance, service, and the upgrades that will be needed to keep the system fully functional in years to come. Not all of these costs can be fully anticipated in advance, although if maintenance and service are arranged on a contracted basis, it is simpler to predict the costs associated with them accurately.
Software costs lie mainly with the choice of virtualization platform chosen. Some of the most common options include Citrix XenServer 5.5, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere, the most popular virtualization platform in use in business today. Other software is also sometimes needed, however, which is one reason why IT consulting firms are so invaluable during the planning and budgeting process. Desired features such as clustering, virtual server migration and backup may be best implemented through additional software.
One key area for cost control is to look carefully at the licensing arrangements available for all software that will be incorporated in the system.