Virtualisation is a key element of most companies' IT infrastructures these days. Yet, with no overarching strategy to guide its growth, virtualisation is falling victim to its own success as it proliferates across enterprises.

Most organisations start with a simple server virtualisation project: It lowers application and administrative costs and makes better use of existing resources. That success leads to another virtualisation project, followed by another and yet another. Eventually, virtual server sprawl overwhelms system administrators, IT governance and service management breaks down, and so many people are scrambling to move virtual resources around that deployment times slip and the benefits disappear.
Building virtualisation into your data center strategy from the bottom up-from planning to management to reporting and control-brings virtual resources under the same strategic umbrella as physical resources, putting you in the position to benefit most from virtualisation.
That's why it's time to rethink virtualisation as a business strategy, not just an IT tactic. That means rethinking virtualisation on three levels:
* Infrastructure barriers
* Applications and and IT operations management
* Client architectures
Rethink infrastructure barriers
Virtualisation brings newfound freedom and flexibility to your infrastructure.  While it was once rare to run several applications on one server or to share storage capacity among several applications or servers, both are now commonplace. With virtualisation, workloads are no longer inextricably tied to the physical infrastructures on which they were deployed.  But to capitalise on this flexibility, you need to choose infrastructure with these possibilities in mind.
For instance, consider a modular infrastructure design, which allows you to shift IT resources more nimbly when business needs change. Think about moving completely to storage area networks or even implementing a shared storage solution in the data centre. Or, think about using advanced infrastructure management tools for control, capacity use and planning for physical and virtual assets together.
HP products can manage and drive insight across heterogeneous servers, network, storage and client devices in a virtualized world. Just one example: HP Insight Dynamics-VSE management software allows virtual servers to be monitored, managed and controlled alongside their physical counterparts. With Insight Dynamics-VSE, capacity planning in a virtualised environment becomes a matter of clicking and dragging virtual servers among available physical resources until you find the best fit.
Not only that, but HP platforms come instrumented for virtualisation, making managing your virtual environment a natural part of your physical environment. Take the HP StorageWorks XP, for example. It makes heterogeneity disappear, virtualizing storage and storage arrays from HP and other manufacturers. The resulting pool is then managed as if were one integrated homogenous asset, simplifying and centralizing management and providing a strong foundation for automation.
Rethink applications and IT operations management

From an IT perspective, it's smart to virtualize as many resources as you can based on an overarching strategy. There are many benefits: You can rapidly align resources to changing business needs, and quickly deploy resources for new projects.
That's why HP is enabling virtual and physical resources to be managed under the same service management policy and governance frameworks, using the same business service management and automation tools.
Our Business Service Management and Automation suites offer insight into and control over both virtual and physical environments. We back that up with experts who can assist with strategy, planning and design, implementation and best practices for applications and IT operations management.
Rethink client architectures
In addition to the data center, IT organisations are increasingly concerned with the management and security of end-user environments. At a certain point, managing and supporting networked desktop devices becomes cumbersome and expensive. Virtualisation, on the other hand, can offer a client architecture that features improved client management and better security through protection of end-user data.
HP is making this client architecture a reality with new thin clients and workstations, new virtual desktop infrastructure solutions and remote graphics for the most demanding users.