UK virtualization center offers free advice

A Virtualization Academy offering free virtualization advice will be opened in May by consultancy VirtualizeIT.

The Vacademy will use a purpose-built virtualization test-bed to boost knowledge about virtualization, among the biggest and fastest-growing phenomena in enterprise computing today, and give businesses a tailored assessment of what virtualization could do for them.

Managing director Julian Box said: “Lots of people know something about virtualization but they don’t know it well or they even know it incorrectly. We want to offer advice free of charge in a no-pressure environment. Those who come along can see the differences between various technologies, for example between AMD and Intel. Then visitors can make informed decisions to use that in their own businesses.”

Vacademy uses technology from all leading server, storage and application virtualization vendors including EMC, HP, IBM, Intel and VMware. Box said: “We also cover Xen, Microsoft Virtual Server, Virtuozzo, Softricity, and we are talking to Altiris. The aim to have everyone involved in virtualization on board.” Other vendor technologies involved come from AMD, Vizioncore, Platform Computing, Neverfail and Leostream.

Potential visitors will complete a survey to give Vacademy’s consultants a picture of the organization’s virtualization needs and skills.

“After that”, said Box, “We produce a VIFA — a virtualization infrastructure feasibility assessment — to show people what virtualization can do, and offer them a costed road map. If they join the academy, they can book any of 70-plus sessions — that number will grow by half a dozen annually — and they can book anyone in. It’s not technical training, it’s more about benefits. They can also plan and test real environments, including benchmarking, by bringing VMs with them.”

The sessions cover server, application and storage virtualization, although Box said that server virtualization is the hottest topic by far. However, he expects that balance to shift as the cost of storage virtualization falls over time.

Courses can be up to two days long although most attendees find half a day is best, said Box. Vacademy also has TCO, ROI and business benefit sessions for MDs. “Some sessions are on-site, many can be Web-based, or we can go to them. It depends on the customer’s needs”, he added.

Box said that he would if the customer chose to make use of the consultancy they would be welcomed but that the Vacademy business model included contributions from major vendors, plus

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