Server Virtualization

Article by Nilesh Rane



What is common with Server Virtualization and the movie Transformers? In both, machines change form and structure to create something new, something more powerful and robust. In real world, server virtualization enables organizations to modify or transform their IT infrastructure to become more responsive, available 24x7 and more cost effective.

Though the benefits of server virtualization are many, realizing these benefits requires a basic understanding of how the process of virtualization works. In the current scenario, Virtualization is increasingly being adopted as process to economize the way an enterprise data center operates. This leads us to the fundamental question about what is Server Virtualization and how it helps businesses.

What is Server Virtualization?

In a data center, space is a premium commodity. Space utilization plays a crucial role in increasing the efficiency of data centers. The same concept applies to servers also. Servers not being utilized to their optimum internal capacity are waste of hardware. Server virtualization, on the other hand, takes care of this anomaly by creating virtual partitions within the physical machine each running their own operating system. With this, servers can run at maximum capacity and can also run different applications simultaneously. The entire process of server virtualization is executed through specialized software enabling a server to run virtualized storage, network and workloads simultaneously.

Bottom-line – Server Virtualization empowers IT departments of organizations to do more with less and offers a distinct advantage to organizations to increase efficiency of their data centers.

How does server virtualization helps businesses

Optimize hardware
Well, for starters, server virtualization helps in optimizing the hardware used resulting in energy savings. With a well planned and thought out virtualization exercise, organizations can look at reducing the number of physical servers from 10 to 1. Servers are expensive pieces of hardware and virtualization can bring about substantial cost savings. An organization can also reduce its energy consumption substantially – if some servers are operating at a low utilization rate, then the system can move the virtual machines running on these servers to different servers. This reduces the load on the initial servers and puts them to sleep with little or no interruption to the service.

Less machines means increased floor space, reduced bills, reduction in energy consumption – all beneficial to business organizations.

Enables faster provisioning of servers
Server virtualization creates flexibility to deploy servers at a moment’s notice. Virtual servers can be deployed easily and instantly doing away with the laborious and time-consuming process of commissioning a physical machine. Business organizations can focus their energies on their business growth rather than worry about the infrastructure required for supporting this growth.

Reducing vendor lock-in
Virtual environments do away with the complexities of operating within constraints of having an IT infrastructure supported by a single vendor. With a virtualized environment, changing or upgrading systems is no Achilles heel and there is no impact on the smooth functioning of the business.

Increased uptime
Downtime can result in potential revenue loss to a business. More than the revenue loss, it is the loss of credibility and reputation in the market and the inconvenience that it causes to customers. How does server virtualization help in maintaining uptime of business critical functions? David Marshall of InfoWorld says:

Live migration, storage migration, fault tolerance, high availability and distributed resource scheduling: these technologies keep virtual machines chugging along or give them the ability to quickly recover from unplanned outages.”

Strengthen disaster recovery
Physical backups are good for disaster recovery but having a virtual backup is ideal. Why? Simply because virtual instances can be transferred digitally from one machine to the other enabling organizations to recover data so migrated and resume their operations from another location in case of a disaster.

Server virtualization can significantly reduce recovery times as data can be transferred from one virtual location to another easily and securely.

Moving applications to the cloud
It is said that virtualization is the stepping-stone to Cloud. Virtualization offers higher cloud infrastructure utilizations, unprecedented consolidation, greater operational efficiency, scalability, lower CapEx and OpEx costs, as well as simplified/consolidated management and maintenance.

Parting words

The benefits of server virtualization can, thus, be summarized as driving efficiency & improving performance of the IT infrastructure and optimizing the cost involved. The transformation is all around us. As hardware, storage and networking become more proven technologies and business competition becomes fiercer, IT will be looking at virtualization as a precursor to attaining efficiencies and reducing costs.

If you want to know more about how server virtualization can enable your organization to reap the benefits of increased efficiency, improved performance at an optimum cost, please do write to us at marketing@netmagicsolutions.com Our experts will guide you through the process and help you realize the benefits of virtualization.