As your business grows, so does your work and data volume. And so should your IT infrastructure. And that means an increase in space and power along with cost and complexity. Does it? Well not anymore! By virtue of "virtualization".
Virtualization is a relatively well known concept now. It started all back in 1960-70 and by 1999 VMware had already introduced their x86 - the VMware virtual platform. So, it has been in the industry for over 40 years now.
Still there are certain elementary questions we continue to face from different clients about the concept of virtualization. So I thought we should brush upon the basic idea of virtualization once more.
What is Virtualization
Virtualization can be applied to any IT infrastructure layers - including networks, storage, laptop or server hardware, operating systems and applications.
Benefits of Virtualization
Now, coming to the core of this discussion - why should you virtualize.
Virtualization provides you certain capabilities and efficiency that is simply not possible within a constrained physical environment. Below are 12 ways in which virtualization can benefit you:
1) Increased Uptime – with virtualization you get capabilities like Virtualization platforms like live migration, storage migration, fault tolerance, high availability, and distributed resource scheduling. These technologies keep virtual machines running and give them the ability to quickly recover from unplanned outages. The ability to quickly and easily move a virtual machine from one server to another is probably one of the greatest single benefits of virtualization with extensive uses.
2) Improved Disaster Recovery - Virtualization offers an organization three important capabilities when it comes to building a disaster recovery solution.
3) More Efficient Storage – Virtualization provides you with "encapsulation of storage" in which your entire machine is converted to just a set of files. This simplifies the total system backup and restore process, enabling swift bare metal restores.
4) Efficient Backup – In a virtualized datacenter, backups can be taken as entire snapshots of your virtual machines. Snapshots can be taken throughout the day, ensuring much more up-to-date data. And because firing up a snapshot is even faster than booting a typical server, downtime is dramatically cut. With virtual backup tools like Veeam the process is further simplified and more efficient.
5) Faster Server Provisioning – With Server virtualization you can provide system provisioning and deployment at a moment's notice. You can quickly clone a master image, or existing virtual machine to get a server up and running within minutes. Why go through the long-drawn process of purchase and delivery of a physical server, rack and cabling work done, OS and application installation and wait for days to do so, when all of it can be done in minutes.
6) Faster re-deployment - When a physical server stops working, the redeployment time depends on a number of factors: Do you have a backup server ready? Is there an image of your server? Is the data on your backup server current? With virtualization, the redeployment can be done within minutes. Virtual machine snapshots can be enabled with just a few clicks. And with virtual backup tools like Veeam, redeploying images will be so fast your end users will hardly notice there was an issue.
7) Ease of Archiving – Virtualization has made archiving of old systems as simple as archiving files on your desktop. When you don’t want to work on a machine you can power it down and copy the files off to stale storage. Again, when you need that machine you can copy it back and have it up and running in minutes.
8) Reduced power consumption - Migrating physical servers over to virtual machines and consolidating them onto far fewer physical servers means lowering monthly power and cooling costs in the data center. And that also means a lower carbon footprint and a greener IT.
9) Reduced Datacenter Floor Space - Server consolidation with virtualization will reduce the overall floor space needed in your entire data center - fewer physical servers, less networking gear, a smaller number of racks.
10) Improved Monitoring and Troubleshooting - Most hypervisors providers like VMware provide a central console where you can manage all the physical hosts, compare resource usage, see a history of tasks and events and perform in-depth analysis and troubleshooting (vCenter for VMware).
11) Isolated Applications - In the physical world, data centers admins typically follow a "one app/one server" model in order to isolate applications. This has given rise to a physical server sprawl, with all its associated menaces of increase in costs, power and space and underutilized server resources. Server virtualization gets you rid of these. You can run multiple applications in different virtual machines within the same physical server with complete application isolation and also remove application compatibility issues by consolidating many of these virtual machines across far fewer physical servers. Reap the benefits of application isolation without the drawbacks!
12) Life of legacy applications can be extended – All companies have some old legacy applications running in their environment which is no longer compatible with the newer versions of OS or hardware and are also difficult to edit. But since it is doing a good job for your company, you still want to retain it. By virtualizing and encapsulating the application and its environment, you can extend its life and also maintain uptime.
So, you can see how Data center virtualization can reduce your costs on facilities, power, cooling, and hardware and simplify administration and maintenance to give you a greener, cleaner IT profile.
Still wondering? Have more questions? Please let me know in your comments.