10 Things to Know About Server Virtualization

This is a guest post from David Malmborg who is working with Dell. Here are the 10 things to know about server virtualization and why your company should think about it. Recently I have shared my personal working experience on advantages of server virtualization.  The below points are similar to earlier article but with different view and explanation.  [source article]

1. Server Virtualization Closes the Gap Seen in Traditional Server Model

Traditional server model uses one piece of hardware for each server. So it will require 75 physical servers to create 75 database, application, and web servers. With server virtualization, it will only require one server and a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device to create 75 or more servers. The power of virtualization technology is enormous and theoretically it can create an endless number of virtual servers. Virtual server technology continues to improve in both functionality and scalability.  

2. Hardware is Cheaper to Procure and Maintain

Since less physical servers are required in a virtual environment, the hardware procurement cost is also lowered. A reduction in hardware expense creates a big incentive for companies to migrate to virtualization. The savings even get better because in the long run, companies can also save on hardware maintenance expense. Companies typically spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on hardware maintenance annually, so most companies have not hesitate to adopt virtualization technology.

3. Lowers Overall Power Consumption and Contributes to a Greener World

As utility and power bill continue to increase, companies are looking at different ways to reduce power consumption. One way to reduce power consumption is by building a new datacenter that is green certified. Although building a new datacenter will certainly reduce power usage, not everyone can afford the enormous price tag. Alternately, some companies choose to reduce power consumption by virtualizing servers. Since server virtualization uses less hardware, the overall power consumption can be lowered up to 50% or more.

4. Highly Scalable and Fast Turnaround

One of the main advantages of using server virtualization is scalability. Scalability enables virtual servers to be created and destroyed in minutes. Multiple virtual servers can be created simultaneously and deployed quickly. This concept of delivering virtual servers is known as Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS). Scalability also allows server resource, such as CPU power, memory, and storage to grow or shrink on demand. Scalability is one of the most important features in virtualization because it can adapt to the demand of any environment.

5. Lowers Licensing Cost and Eases Backup Management

The licensing model for virtual servers is usually cheaper because licensing is not paid up front. Instead, license fees paid are based on usage. This provides a great advantage and lowers licensing cost in an environment where virtual servers are dynamically allocated. Backups are also easier to manage in a virtual environment. Backup tape rotation that is seen in traditional server model is a thing of the past.

6. Easier to Install and Deploy

Traditionally, installing a server require many steps. First step is installing new hardware, and then the Operating System (OS). Once the OS is installed, the server software needs to be installed and configured. The entire process sometimes require several days to complete. Creating and installing virtual servers, on the other hand, usually takes a few minutes. This is possible because virtual servers are created using a master image, which is also called a base image. The master image is created once, and can be used to create new virtual servers as required.

7. Centralized Image Management is Easy

Virtual servers are created using a base image. A base image has all the necessary software components integrated into the image. Multiple images are usually created for different purposes. For example, a base image that is used for creating a database virtual server will have different software components from a web server or an application server. A base image is easy to manage, because there is only a single copy of the image that required maintenance. A new software package that needs to be integrated into the image can be done easily and quickly.

8. Saves Space and Reduces Hosting Cost

Space is a growing concern for companies that host thousands of servers. As more servers are required, they either build new datacenter or host their servers at a shared datacenter. Either way, they are paying a tremendous amount of money just for hosting servers. By adopting server virtualization, they can reduce the number of physical servers by at least 50% or more. Ultimately, they save money from hosting their servers elsewhere.

9. Distance Does not Matter When it Comes to Deployment

Virtual servers, which are delivered via Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS), can be deployed over the network. This type of service has grown in popularity due to ease of implementation and delivery. Companies that specialize in providing IAAS has seen a surge in demand from the public. Users of IAAS include developers and architects. Using virtual server is not only cheaper, but it’s also faster to obtain. A web developer in Finland who needs a virtual server for development can purchase one from a provider in the USA. The developer can start using the virtual server in a few minutes.

10. Migrating to Virtual Servers

The biggest consideration and obstacle that most companies face in adopting server virtualization is the migration process. Migrating from a traditional server model to server virtualization is a challenging task when there are thousands of servers involved. The entire process will require a lot of planning and careful execution to avoid a production outage. In the long run, however, companies will start seeing and realizing how much they’ve been saving