Virtualization, its a word bandied about a lot these days. What does it really mean? How can it help your business? How can it help decrease operating costs? These are some of the questions i’ll endeavor to answer in this post.
What is virtualization?
Server virtualization is the ability to run a server independent of the hardware it’s located on, instead of an ‘actual’ server you run a server in a ‘virtual’ environment. This means that you can run a Windows server for file sharing, a Linux server for database applications, as well as any other server/application combo on a single piece of hardware. In the old days there was basically a one to one relationship between a server and the application that ran on it. One couldn’t run multiple apps on a single server because they would ‘step’ on each other causing errors and even downtime. Each time you added a new application you had to buy a new server. One, this approach took a lot of room, two it was wasteful because a single app rarely used all the resources of the server it was on and three it was really, really expensive.
Now administrators have multiple virtual technologies at their disposal (VMware and HyperV) to allow multiple virtual servers to run on one piece of hardware. This takes less physical space, means the hardware can be utilized more efficiently, takes less power and you are maximizing your technology investment by using your hardware to the limit of its capabilities. Another benefit is that the single server you run on can be ‘higher end’ and have all of the latest features for disaster recovery and monitoring, because you’re buying one box and you can afford to spend more on it.
The other advantage of virtualization is that in the event of a disaster and with the correct backup solution, it is simple and quick to setup a working copy of your server on another piece of hardware. If your office is no longer usable and you need to setup somewhere else quickly using VM’s is your best solution. Backup information
The two manufacturers of server virtualization software are VMware, with their VMware product line, and Microsoft with HyperV. For smaller implementations Hypervisor is cost effective and full featured, for the bigger shops with 3-5 servers and above VMware’s advanced features are probably your best bet.
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