Virtualization software allows you to create two or more complete computing environments on a single piece of hardware. The proliferation of systems with multi-core microprocessors has made virtualization possible across a wide range of business applications. Today, many companies are realizing the many benefits virtualization can offer. If you are considering making the move to virtualization there are five important things you should know.
Potential for Significant Cost Savings
One of the major benefits of virtualization for businesses both large and small is the potential for cost savings. While there will likely need to be an initial investment in software and set up, virtualization is overall cheaper than traditional computing because it allows for decreased energy consumption and technology maintenance costs. For example, at any given time, you are using only about 10% of the computing power of a dedicated server. However, that server is usually still consuming about 70% of its peak power requirements. It also means you’re not getting a very good return on your server investment. Think about it: Would you buy a delivery truck that was going to sit idling in your parking lot during 90% of the business day?
With virtualization, the server utilization rate zooms from about 10% to about 60-70%. That’s an enormous increase, and the resulting consolidation helps lower energy costs and creates much more palatable ROI. Of course, the benefits of virtualization go far beyond just cost savings. Disaster recovery and ease of management are just two more reasons so many small and medium sized businesses are moving to virtual environments.
Virtualization makes it very easy to create new virtual machines. Unlike physical machines, there is no hardware or configuration needed. Visualization’s simplicity and quick set up is beneficial for many reasons, including cost savings. However, due to the ease of set up, businesses need to be aware of VM sprawl – the rapid growth of a virtual environment. When multiple VMs are set up on a system, resources can become overrun, creating I/O bottlenecks and exceeding an environments capacity. Businesses can manage VM sprawl through monitoring growth and lifecycle patterns and by viewing these metrics on a month-to-month basis.
Virtualization vs. the Cloud: Are They the Same Thing?
Confusing virtualization with cloud computing is very common and for good reason too. Virtualization is actually a foundational element of cloud computing. Together, cloud computing and virtualization work in unison to bring a variety of services to users. Virtualization is software that manipulates hardware to create a complete computing environment where multiple applications and operating systems can run off of the same server. This virtual environment that is created is known as the cloud. As Business News Daily said, “Cloud computing is the delivery of shared computing resources, software or data — as a service and on-demand through the Internet.”
A Variety of Virtualization Solutions
There are a number of options when it comes to virtualization solutions. And if you are new to virtualization it is helpful to know all the options before diving in. There are 6 common virtualization solutions available today. These include workstation-based virtualization, server virtualization, storage virtualization, desktop virtualization, application virtualization and network virtualization. Of these six, however, server virtualization has taken the virtualization game to a whole new level in that server virtualization does not require the installation of a physical server. For many small businesses, the option to virtualize even the server is extremely beneficial and is the reason server virtualization is so popular. However, if you are considering virtualization it is important to examine all the solutions to determine which makes the most sense for your business.
Virtualization Software and Hosting
Once you decide to virtualize you will need to decide what software and hosting service to use. While needs will vary from business to business, VM Ware has proven to be one of the best products across the board when it comes to virtualization software. Other great options for small businesses include, Citrix, IBM, Pertino and Symantec. In order to implement this software and get your virtualization server platform up and running you will need an experienced IT managed service provider. A good managed service IT provider will help you plan, migrate and support a virtualized environment. When looking for a managed service provider there are a few criteria you should hone in on to ensure you are choosing a partner that will put your virtualization needs first, including price, level of support offered, control panel accessibility, scalability, and reputation in the industry.
Deciding to move to a virtual environment can be a smart decision for many small and medium sized businesses. However, it is important to know what virtualization actually is, what it can offer your business, how it will work and what overall solution makes the most sense for your business.
At I&T we have more than 50 years of combined experience in telecommunications, Internet technology, wireless and information technology. Among other services offered, we work closely with business both large and small to implement server virtualization using VMWare. Discover how we can help your business with virtualization by speaking with one of our IT experts.