In the past, businesses ran their enterprise software applications on individual servers. There was a one to one relationship between the physical server and the software it ran, just as your computer has one copy of Windows running with all of your programs and files. The limiting factor was the computer's finite amount of memory and processing power. In the last few years, the amount of processing power in servers has continued to increase while the workloads have remained relatively flat. The end result is data centers filled with physical servers that cost money, consume electricity and air conditioning, and require maintenance that are being underutilized. Virtualization software vendors like VMware, Citrix and Microsoft have created software that lets one powerful server do the job of multiple computers by sharing resources across multiple environments.
Why would I want virtualization?
Virtualization has become the cornerstone of every enterprise's favorite money-saving initiative. By reducing the number and types of servers that support your business applications, companies are looking at significant cost savings.
Less power consumption, easier management, and better use of existing underutilized computing resources translate into a longer life for servers and a fatter bottom line.
As the server farm is turned into a seamless pool of computing resources, storage and network consolidation start to move up the to-do list. Other virtualization-enabled features and capabilities worth considering: high availability, disaster recovery and workload balancing. Top
How can virtualization benefit my business?
Beyond the potentially dramatic cost savings, virtualization can greatly enhance your organization's business agility.
Also, this technology offers the potential for a fundamental change in the way IT managers think about computing resources. When managing individual boxes becomes less of a challenge, the focus of IT can shift from the technology to the services the technology can provide.
Managing workloads instead of servers puts the focus on delivering business value rather than on infrastructure. Top
What are the different types of virtualization?
There are three basic categories of virtualization: Server virtualization consolidates the operating systems, applications, and files from several physical servers on to one.
Desktop virtualization gives users the flexibility of having their own Windows PC with the manageability of Citrix or terminal services. Application virtualization allows users to access applications without having to manually install or maintain them.
Server virtualization is far and away the most common use of the technology today, and it is widely considered the primary driver of the market. When most people use the term "virtualization," they're likely talking about server virtualization. Top
What are the cost benefits of virtualization
IT departments everywhere are being asked to do more with less, and the name of the game today is resource utilization. Virtualization technologies offer a direct and readily quantifiable means of achieving that mandate by collecting disparate computing resources into shareable pools.
For example, analysts estimate that the average enterprise utilizes somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent of its server capacity. In those companies, most of the power consumed by their hardware is just heating the room in idle cycles. Employing virtualization technology to consolidate underutilized servers in the data center yields both an immediate, one-time cost saving and potentially significant ongoing savings.
The most obvious immediate impact here comes from a reduction in the number of servers in the data center. Fewer machines means less capital outlay and less daily power consumption, both from the servers themselves and the cooling systems that companies must operate and maintain to keep them from overheating.
Turning a swarm of servers into a seamless computing pool can also lessen the scope of future hardware expenditures, while putting the economies of things like utility pricing models and pay-per-use plans on the table. Moreover, a server virtualization strategy can open up valuable rack space, giving a company room to grow. Top
What kinds of challenges does virtualization present?
Companies that want to take advantage of containment and consolidation must accurately assess the suitability of these workloads in a virtualized environment. Not all workloads are well suited for virtualization. Once suitable workloads have been identified, CPU, memory, power, cooling, rack space and disk space requirements must be planned. Often companies need assistance to manage the technology implementation, business integration, and overall execution and communication of the project. Finally companies may need ongoing service and support for their virtualized environment. Top
What should I look for in a virtualization solution?
In a word: Performance. While value can be created simply by rolling out a virtual environment, the real ROI is in optimization. Servers, storage, labor, power, and networking equipment are all expensive. By optimizing your virtual infrastructure, you can improve the ROI of the project. Top