8. Choose the First Movers
Once you've built up your brand-spanking-new virtualization solution and tested it with a few new virtual servers, it's time to start putting a production load on it. Start slow here, and plan an orderly transition from physical to virtual.
Pick a few smaller-scale physical servers, such as a lightly used application server, or even an Active Directory domain controller (assuming that you have multiple physical domain controllers) and either build them fresh on the virtual infrastructure or use P2V (physical-to-virtual) tools to move the server instance in its entirety. In the case of domain controllers, it's always best to build them fresh; but you can easily transition application servers and other types to a virtual server with P2V tools, saving time and aggravation. However, you may encounter instances where these tools cannot successfully move a server, in which case you will have to rebuild it.
By starting with smaller servers first, you can flush out any problems that the new virtualized infrastructure may have before you move highly visible services over. Once you're satisfied with the stability of the new arrangement, you can begin moving the heavier-duty servers over.
9. Watch Carefully
Once you've started the transition process, keep a close eye on the performance, on a virtual-server, physical-host, and storage level. If your setup has automated load leveling, make sure that it's enabled and functional, and confirm that your original resource-utilization forecasts aren't being eclipsed. It's best if you can see possible resource problems on the horizon before you get there.
10. Enjoy All the New Capabilities
Now you can take advantage of all the goodies that virtualization has to offer. Use snapshots to preserve system states prior to updating sensitive code. Use cloning to quickly and easily spin up new server instances when you need them. Use live migrations to transition virtual servers from one host to another without downtime should you need to take down a physical server for maintenance. All that and more is now available, and if you've done everything right, it will save you time and money.
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