While colleges and universities have a well-deserved reputation for being ahead of the curve in many areas, their willingness to be at the forefront of innovative technologies often flies under the radar. And yet, many higher-ed institutions have shown a readiness to embrace new technologies to better support students and faculty.

Such is the case with open source virtualization software. While the rest of the world—including businesses, elementary, middle, and high schools—was first beginning to grasp the benefits of open source virtualization, colleges and universities were already reaping those benefits.

Open source virtualization shares many traits with proprietary virtualization software. Both allow organizations to consolidate physical servers into powerful virtual machines. Both can greatly reduce an organization’s datacenter footprint, reducing costs and complexity. And both can pair with automation to reduce the need for manual oversight.

So why should a college or university go the open source route? Rest assured, it is not just because they wish to be trailblazers. Open source software virtualization offers some tangible benefits over other alternatives. Here are a few.

Driving better ROI

The benefits of open source virtualization

My company recently worked with a small liberal arts college that initially chose the non-open source route and quickly came across some significant hurdles.

First, their ROI quickly dwindled, thanks to licensing fees that continued to increase throughout the lifecycle of their investment. The increasing costs left them little recourse but to seek alternatives. Eventually, they migrated to open source virtualization tools to achieve their goals of lower costs, better value, and an optimal ROI.

Open source and proprietary virtualization tools offer different levels of value. Using a proprietary piece of open source virtualization software can be akin to driving a Ferrari; sure, it can offer a lot of power in certain instances, but you will pay for it even though you are probably not going to use it as your daily driver. Most organizations need tools that will help them manage small percentages of infrastructure and large swaths of development and testing.

About the Author:

Bill Hirsch has been working in IT for 20+ years as a Linux/Unix systems administrator, enterprise architect, and—prior to joining Red Hat—served as a director of infrastructure at a healthcare provider in Pittsburgh, Penn. In his current role as a senior solutions architect, Hirsch works with customers across the northeast and serves as the public sector SME on Red Hat Insights.


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