Server Virtualization

In the old days (circa 2005), when a business was going to roll out a new application and it required 2 dedicated servers to run, the process for the network administrator was this:

1.    Order new hardware
2.    Wait for the hardware to arrive
3.    Mount the hardware and cable the hardware
4.    Install the operating systems and patch it with the latest updates on each server
5.    Install the application.

This time frame ranged from weeks to months.

With virtualization in place you would pick a server from a template, install the operating system and patch it, and then clone it to produce the second server.  This can be done in one afternoon!

What I described is one of the benefits of virtualization.

Here is another:  Your current hardware is 5 years old and isn’t keeping up with the demands of your network anymore.  Without virtualization the task would take many days of procuring the new hardware, installing the operating system, installing patches, installing all the applications that the current server runs, and then migrating the data over.  With virtualization you would simply move the virtual machine over to run on the updated hardware.  Even if you didn’t have virtualization on your old servers the option to convert them from physical to virtual and place them on your new, more powerful, virtual server infrastructure is even available.

Now let’s look at efficiency.  Many applications are not compatible with each other or if they ran on the same server it would create contention of resources.  In no time at all we suddenly have 10 servers running at 10% capacity.  This is a waste of hardware and a waste of electricity.  With virtualization you can run all 10 servers on one physical server!

I know what you’re thinking.  Isn’t that putting all my eggs in one basket?

In the past if one server failed you would only loose the application that the one server was powering.  Now that there is only one server powering the workload of 10 servers and it failed, all 10 applications would be down.  This is the very reason that you should always have 2 or more physical servers in your virtualization infrastructure.  You plan for a server to go down in your design which means that the remaining servers need to be able to handle the workload of the server that fails.  Technology has even made this process of failing over almost seamless.

Should your next investment in IT include virtualization?  Absolutely.

Posted by Eric O. Schueler, A+, MCP, MCSE, MCTS, CSSA, ACSP. Eric is the Senior V.P. of Information Technology at HRCT.  He has been in the business of providing IT and consulting for small and medium business for more than 15 years.

For more information and to ask questions, click here to contact Eric Schueler.

Hampton Roads Communication Technologies (HRCT) provides quality business telecommunications solutions, like Business Telephone Systems to companies and organizations throughout the Hampton Roads Virginia cities of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News and Hampton, north into Williamsburg and south into the Outer Banks of North Carolina. HRCT keeps your company connected. Call today 757-399-3350.