The Benefits of Virtualization
In recent years the world of computing has gone from physical servers to Cloud-based servers and virtualization. Mobility, efficiency, cost, and availability are all factors driving this change in information technology (IT). Server virtualization has grown quite a bit in the ten years since its origin. While some organizations may count it as “new” others would not fall back to a physical platform for anything. Virtualization has changed the way many companies do business by providing capabilities physical systems could not. When transitioning to a virtual environment, an organization should take full advantage of all the efficiencies and capabilities it offers. Organizations should completely virtualize their data center in order to reap the benefits of virtualization. This article examines some of the top benefits an organization can reap from moving from a physical to a virtual server environment.
With virtualization you don’t have to purchase as many physical servers and can focus spending on software and security. Virtual servers while have a requirement for at least one physical server can provide the computing power of multiple virtual machines which do not require additional energy to run and maintain. With virtualization you can scale back from a large server room which requires an independent cooling system that must constantly run 24 hours a day. With less physical equipment needed you also do not have as much maintenance to perform. You can reduce clutter that physical servers require with additional equipment, racks, and other floor space. If you currently rent or lease your physical data center you could save thousands a month by going virtual. If you open up a test lab or server room that was once dedicated to physical equipment you can scale back to a smaller building or use that space to expand your current departments or open up a new department.
Deploy and redeploy faster
When a physical server crashes, the reboot time depends on multiple variables. Do you have a backup server readily available? Did you have a ghost image of the server? How current is your backup data? With virtual servers you can redeploy a downed server in minutes instead of hours. Virtual snapshots are available in virtualization that can redeploy a virtual server quickly with very minimal downtime. With redeployment comes improved disaster recovery. Virtualization offers three key factors in disaster recovery. Without the need for as much physical equipment, organizations and companies can eliminate the need for a complete backup site to have a duplicate set of equipment in parallel to the operational side. Having a backup for disaster recovery is costly. This does not mean you should eliminate your disaster recovery plan all together; however. This simply means instead of purchasing thousands of dollars for a duplicate network you only have to purchase one additional set of physical hardware. For example, by scaling down to one physical server you can purchase an additional server with duplicate software and data backed up in the event your primary server with all your virtual machines goes down at any time for any reason.
Quick and easy backups
With virtualization you can perform full data backups much faster and easier than on individual physical machines. Virtual machines can be moved between servers quickly and be deployed in a matter of minutes as mentioned above. Redeploying a snapshot of a virtual machine takes much less time than booting a physical server to cut downtime by a fraction of the time.
With these quick and easy backups you can increase your uptime. Many virtual platforms offer several advanced features to help boost uptime. Some of these features include live migration in where you can move servers to other areas of the network without having to shut them down. This can be useful for a number of functions such as print, email, or storage servers.
Improve your test environment
A test environment can require multiple servers which has led to a dedicated test lab in a physical server environment. Errors that occur during testing are fast and easy to fix by redeploying snapshots to continue with a test. Test environments can be segregated from other virtual machines as to not disturb live functional machines. Virtualization allows you to reduce the amount of room you need and allow testers to work from their desktop without having to be in a test lab. Virtualization brings every computer on your network to your administrator’s desktop.
No vendor contracts
With virtualization you won’t have as high a need to lock yourself into one certain vendor since you won’t need as much hardware. You will be able to operate a virtual environment on nearly any type of physical server of your choice without the worry of proprietary drivers or software to hold you back. With virtualization you can cut any strings you had in the past with any certain vendor, platform, or server type. Virtualization provides the freedom of choice and opens up opportunities for nearly any physical equipment of choice.