Virtualization Footprint: Why Re-Invest?

Muma Case Review  •  Volume 2  •  2017  •  pp. 001-035
Mark Dumas, a Systems Specialist at a Telecommunications Company located in South Africa needed to make decisions regarding the current virtualized infrastructure platform. These decisions also involved the renewal of hardware that had reached the end of its maintenance period and the latest virtualization platform software. Dumas further needed to formulate a plan to ensure that there was enough capacity for systems to meet current and future growth. As part of this process, Dumas had started analyzing the costs of infrastructure and virtualization products, and the newer features available with the newest technologies which could be beneficial to business.

At the time of the case, South Africa had four major cellular companies that offered mobile voice, messaging and data to millions of South Africans: Vodacom SA, MTN, Cell C and Telkom Mobile (see Exhibit 1).

A particular challenge that Dumas faced was an existing collection of physical servers that hosted numerous virtual machines. The maintenance contract on these machines had reached the end of their lifespan, because the hardware was more than 5 years old. These many virtual machines needed to be hosted elsewhere, presumably through the purchase of new servers; otherwise the maintenance contracts on the legacy hardware would need to be extended and compute resources needed to be upgraded to align with the existing servers. Another challenge was analyzing whether the current virtualization products remained the best fit for the company’s needs, or whether other virtualization products could potentially be more cost effective and could deliver the same, or improved, functionality.

In considering how to address these decisions, Dumas had conducted research on a variety of virtualization products, comparing them to the current virtualization solution. He had conducted similar research on server environment options, including the purchase of new servers, migrating virtual machines within the existing server environment, and moving towards cloud technologies. Now he needed to prepare his recommendations. Abbreviations and technological jargon have been categorized in a table (see Exhibit 2).
information technology, mobile, South Africa, telecommunications, virtualization
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