Virtualisation had been with us for a while now and it can generally be regarded as ‘a good thing’. It gives us more efficient utilisation of ‘real’ hardware and lets us do more with less – thereby realising cost efficiencies, which ultimately in this climate are very handy!
These facts are all well-known and you’ll have to forgive me for stating the blindingly obvious! So what is the point of this (my first blog post)?
Well, what happens if you want to take an existing VM and migrate it into the cloud? I’m not talking about building a new machine in a cloud infrastructure provider and re-installing apps, reconfiguring etc. I’m talking at the notion of taking an existing system and packaging it up and moving it lock, stock and (and hopefully not smoking!) barrel.
Why would anyone want to do this? The biggest reason is that you might not want to go through the pain (and expense) of a full system re-validation. It’s been already done, the server and application configuration is documented and verifiably tested and everything works. Any re-installation on a new server would require re-executing installation and test scripts that would delay any such project.
Of course, there are caveats: you might be migrating a server that has some as yet undetected configuration problem that will cause it to fail, but the point here is that it is unknown and will fail whether it’s in an on-site datacentre or remote one. Therefore there is no net gain or loss in such a migration.
There are many points for discussion here (and if you feel compelled enough, leave a comment!), and to examine them all would take far too long!
However, what has happened in the most recent week is that we can now migrate that most common of server OS’ - Windows Server 2008R2 - into two prominent UK based cloud infrastructure providers: Flexiscale and Elastichosts.
It is possible to take your existing VMWare (and others) based server VM, and move it into one of these IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers and do it in such a way that it will not affect the configuration of the machine thereby minimising any testing/validation work that would need to be performed.
The possibility is there, and it’s certainly worth exploring...