Virtualization tiering – Opportunity for IT to reduce TCO

Increasing demand on the business, and consequently on the technology infrastructure, is compelling IT teams to diversify their virtualization product requirements. Unlike earlier, where there was a focus on engaging with a single vendor and investing in a product, business exigencies are driving IT to invest in multiple products across different vendors. The reasons are not far to see – reduced dependence on a single vendor, opportunity to explore new/unique features of competing products, operational flexibility and improved efficiencies, etc.

A strategy of having multiple virtualization products also brings with it inherent challenges. The virtual workloads have significant impact on performance, availability, licensing, etc. To better manage the workloads, through a host of virtualization products, tiering/segmenting of workloads would have significant impact on IT performance and efficiency.

Virtualization Tiering, a framework for segmenting the workloads, involves management and appropriate tiering of virtual machines (workloads) for better efficiency at a reduced cost. The framework suggests three types of segmenting / tiering the workloads, which are based on the –

  • Environment (Production / Development / QA / Test / Staging etc.)
  • Impact levels- critical/ medium/ low workloads
  • Best practices of types of workload to hypervisor mapping



This is an advanced virtualization technique that effectively meets the business objectives, diversifies the workloads and reduces the associated risks. Further, it also aids in planning virtualization roadmap and in optimization and consolidation of IT infrastructure.

At a high level, this approach of mapping workloads helps IT to reduce the risk of dependence on a single virtualization platform, lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) and increases the ROI from IT investments.

To elucidate how the Virtualization tiering works, let us consider a client environment with 1000+ server instances comprising of development/QA/UAT/production with a below indicated split:

  • Development Environment – 150
  • QA Environment – 150
  • UAT Environment – 100
  • Production – 600+

The Tiering framework helps in the placement of server instances spread across multiple hypervisors. The suggested approach will have all the production environment in hypervisor1 platform and the rest in hypervisor2.

By applying the framework, we will be able to achieve 20% to 30% reduction in licenses/hypervisor costs and make a positive impact on the TCO.

In summary, the total operating cost of the virtualized platform and OS licenses drastically gets reduced, leading to an optimized IT environment.

Have you implemented Virtualization Tiering in your IT environment? What improvements have you seen in your IT operations?

Vinod Mani

Senior Architect - IMS practice, Virtusa. Vinod has over 15 years of experience in the IT infrastructure domain with expertise in transition and project management. At Virtusa, his responsibilities include technology alliances and providing end-to-end solutions across infrastructure space- datacenters, server platforms, virtualization, storage , database, and networking & collaboration technologies. He is a certified PMP, ITIL, CDCP professional and holds various technology certificates on Microsoft and Virtualization areas.

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