I’m big on virtualisation. I think it’s the way of the future, especially from a DR perspective. The combination of VMware ESX and SAN replication means that the downtime due to the loss of a data centre can be minimised. Virtualisation potentially makes DR a lot easier. As a matter of fact, I think it’s worth virtualising everything, even if you only run one virtual server per physical server. VMware ESXi is now free so it doesn’t even have to cost anything to do it. In my mind it makes a compelling argument.
The only fly in the ointment is the problem of those products that won’t work without a licence server. Some products require a USB or parallel port dongle. They obviously can’t be virtualised.
However, licence servers that don’t require dongles (e.g. FlexLM based) are prime candidates for virtualisation. We can virtualise these servers and know that if we have to fail over to our backup data centre everything will still work.
Intergraph now require a licence server if we want to use their SmartPlant Materials (formerly called Marian) product. Thta’s fine, it’s their product. Unfortunately, they won’t allow us to virtualise the licence server. To my mind, this means that Intergraph are saying that they don’t care about us or our business.
It’s just not good enough!