Readers can start with this tip, <a href="http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/tip/Choosing-the-right-health-care-servers-is-no-easy-task">Choosing the right health care servers is no easy task</a>, which discusses the types of servers needed in health care and how to rate the requirements for each.
As for the pros and cons of virtualization, check out <a href="http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/tip/Virtual-servers-and-consolidation-bring-benefits-to-health-care-CIOs">Virtual servers and consolidation bring benefits to health care CIOs</a> and <a href="http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/tip/Not-all-health-care-applications-are-candidates-for-virtual-systems">Not all health care applications are candidates for virtual systems</a> to learn more about the benefits and limitations of virtual systems in health care.
Be sure to also read our tip <a href="http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/tip/Guidelines-and-best-practices-for-virtual-systems-in-health-care-IT">Guidelines and best practices for virtual systems in health care IT</a> for a list of best practices plus a glimpse into the future of virtual computer environments.
To add to the previous response. The answer to this question is YES. Today, most servers in the data center are good candidates for virtualization. Benefits include utilizing a physical server to its capabilities by running multiple workloads on the server and adding failover capabilities to protect against hardware failure.
The question of implementation complexity can only be answered with the customary "it depends" - it depends on the number of workloads, the extend of required testing, the desired failover capabilities, the size of the overall environment etc.
Starting with a server virtualization assessment to determine the anticipated increase in computing density in the datacenter is an important first step.+
This is a very interesting subject. This past month I was present during an new PMS/EHR implementation. In the beginning the virtual environment was very cost prohibitive, so the focus was to create a cost analysis to see the tangible cost savings that can be realized from such a project. Once we reviewed all the requirements, and identified all the benefits that we would receive from such an environment, it was a no brainer. We identified five top items that were critical benefits for the organization:
• Reduced all our hardware costs (EHR vendor and all the third party products required multiple servers for different functionalities)
• lowered the administrative and system maintenance cost (Less hardware support costs since we had less hardware in house to support)
• Improved the flexibility of our system (all our upgrades after we perform snapshots or on cloned environments)
• Improved our DRP/BCP and compliance with HIPAA
• Added virtual desktops for some of the mobile users.