Top 10 Reasons NOT to Virtualize

Trend Micro’s Dave Asprey has posted 10 reasons not to virtualize.

I generally disagree with all of them (as I’ll explain later), but I think he missed the REAL #1 reason not to virtualize…

First, here’s Asprey’s 10 reasons (he gives more info behind the reasons in his blog):

  1. When you have static, predictable computing needs
  2. When you can’t get a virtualization friendly license
  3. When it just won’t work very well
  4. When time drift will hurt your apps
  5. When you work for a cheapskate
  6. When you’re already running servers at high capacity
  7. When you don’t have a way to manage encryption keys
  8. When you use clustered apps with built in failover
  9. When you want to save money on all desktops by virtualizing them
  10. When you are running virtualization platform components

In my experience the #1 reason should be:

#1 – Lack of understanding of the technology and how to configure and manage it.

Too many admins just start virtualizing some servers without understanding the issues and risks, and as a result, they architect the environment poorly, and by the time they realize it, the company rejects the technology because of all the problems they experienced.

As I noted in my comments in the Trend blog, I have seen very, very few apps that you can’t run in a virtual environment. When someone tells you that something can’t be virtualized, challenge them, and request specific reasons and proof, the kind that can be tested and verified.

Vendors Blowing Smoke

When problems arise, too many vendors just don’t want to deal with it, so they tell you that their app can’t be virtualized. When you are told this, it can mean that the vendor’s staff isn’t very skilled, especially in the virtual arts. If the vendor and its application doesn’t speak virtual, that’s a red flag; it can mean they are behind the times.  So if they can’t provide some concrete reasons, you might want to find a different vendor.

You can Overcome

The good news is that usually all these problems can be overcome, but it will definitely take expertise and money (I acknowledge that $ was one of Asprey’s main points, and it’s a good one).

However, unless you’re running a tiny business and/or your technology people don’t know how to do a proper cost/benefit analysis, you should be able to make the case for virtualization of most of your systems.

So while I generally disagree with the 10 reasons Trend listed, the posts are worth reading as they raise issues that should be considered.

Security is not a Reason?

Also, notice what ISN’T one of the reasons: security. Isn’t that interesting? Security shouldn’t be a reason to avoid virtualization, but it reaches back to MY #1 reason – if your admins don’t understand the technology, they won’t be able to secure it. So be careful.

To read Trend’s series on virtualization, click here and look for the 5 posts entitled “Blog Series Part x of 5: 10 Reasons Not to Virtualize” (warning, when this was posted, none of the article were linked together, which is real strange).

I suggest you read more of Dave’s posts at Trend’s cloud security blog, as well as posts by other Trendies; I certainly will.


Blogger Chris Chesley states that while admins understanding the technology is important, even that isn’t always a showstopper  (see #5 in his post); he also notes that just about everything can be virtualized (see #4).

My other posts regarding virtualization:

Quote of the Weak (Securing Virtual Servers)

Securing Virtual Servers

How Virtualization Changes Audits


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