How to Know When Virtualization Is Improbable

Part of the VMware vSphere For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Virtualization is an exciting technology, especially once you've realized the far-reaching potential and benefits of its deployment. Like the microwave oven, the Internet, or any other disruptive technology, people tend to get wrapped up in the complexities, feeling out the boundaries as they go. In some cases, though, virtualization isn't a viable option:

  • Hardware-based multimedia applications: Installing a multimedia interface card into a vSphere server does not allow you to map the card's capabilities to a virtual machine.

  • Telephony applications: Internet-based voice communications have seen mainstream adoption over the past few years, but the days of telco-based phone services are long from extinct. Several vendors still offer telco adapter cards for use in call centers, voicemail systems, and other interactive voice-driven applications. These card-based telco adapters don't map to virtual machines and shouldn't be installed in servers running vSphere.

  • Other virtualization products: Installing another hypervisor in a virtual machine usually doesn't work, and when it does work, the performance is poor at best.

  • Unsupported on virtualized platforms: Believe it or not, some software vendors out there still will not support their product if it's running in a virtual machine. That doesn't mean it won't work in a VM; the software will just deny you support for an issue if it's running in a VM when the problem occurs.

  • Licensing: Some software has licensing restrictions specific to virtualization, such as running a desktop OS licensed for use on a physical desktop computer.

When is unsupported really unsupported? Many times, even if virtualization isn't supported, you can get specific case-by-case support from vendors if you work closely with them. Before you rule out an application, try to contact your vendor. Depending on how large a customer your organization is, you may be surprised!

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