While many of our clients have single-server environments, some of them have the need for 20 or more servers for a variety of reasons. Gone are the days where you need 20 physical computers for your environment – virtualization of server resources will save your company money and improve disaster recovery and productivity.
Before we go into the benefits of virtualization for your business, we need to discuss what virtualization actually is. In the not-too-distant past, if you needed another server outside of your main domain controller and file server (say a mail server or a server for a specific application), you had to buy another physical box. Virtualization allows you to run more than one server as virtual machines on a single piece of hardware. So instead of running two more more physical servers, you can run a single physical server that is running two or more virtual servers.
Since servers are rarely running full load, this allows that available power to be spread out and used.
As you can see immediately, there are a few obvious benefits of this type of setup:
- Reduced Hardware Costs: Obviously buying one server is cheaper than buying two servers.
- Reduced Energy Costs: Beefy servers are power-hogs. Running two of them is certainly going to cost more than running one.
However, there are other benefits that may not be quite as obvious:
- Improved Disaster Recovery: When you virtualize a server, it’s put into a singular hardware-agnostic container. It doesn’t care what hardware it’s running on. As such, it can be moved between hardware (or even cloud hosts) and spun up quickly. This helped one of our clients recently when their server got a little wet. They had virtual servers that were able to spin up on another appliance quickly to get them back up and running.
- Improved Redundancy and Continuity: For really complicated multi-server environments, you can have multiple physical servers serving virtual servers. If you need to take down a physical server for maintenance, move the virtual server temporarily over to another physical server, spin it up and you’re good to go. If you have a shared storage infrastructure (like a SAN, which we’ve setup more than a few times), that migration is very easy and can be done in near real-time. The goal is to minimize downtime for your servers and virtualization makes that goal much more obtainable.
- Faster Provisioning: If you need to provision out another server for another app, it’s much easier to do on a virtual host than on new hardware.
- Easier Management: Virtual servers still require the same monitoring and maintenance as a physical server, but the monitoring is all software-level and you have less hardware to watch and maintain.
Interested in talking more with somebody about server consolidation and virtualization? Call one of our solution consultants today to discuss an assessment to discover the best solution for your environment.