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Server virtualization is a technology used in many enterprise systems to reduce operation and acquisition costs, and increase the availability of their critical services. Virtualized systems may be even more complex than traditional nonvirtualized systems; thus, the quantitative assessment of system availability is even more difficult. In this paper, we propose a sensitivity analysis approach to find the parameters that deserve more attention for improving the availability of systems. Our analysis is based on Markov reward models, and suggests that host failure rate is the most important parameter when the measure of interest is the system mean time to failure. For capacity oriented availability, the failure rate of applications was found to be another major concern. The results of both analyses were cross-validated by varying each parameter in isolation, and checking the corresponding change in the measure of interest. A cost-based optimization method helps to highlight the parameter that should have higher priority in system enhancement.