Why virtualize your servers
Server virtualization has been around since the early 2000’s, brought along with the x86 architecture, yet the technology is still considered new as it has not gone through wide scale adoption. Aside from Microsoft, the heavy-weights of virtualization are VMware, and Citrix. Both of these companies are almost entirely based on virtualization and applying the technology to develop products that help IT specialists and corporations alike, throughout the world. Recently, virtualization has become a very hot topic in the tech world and is revolutionizing the industry, but what is virtualization? The term virtualization is defined as :
to create a virtual version of (a computer, operating system, data storage device, etc.),which is not itself an independent device but both works and appears to the user as a single, physical entity
This definition can accurately sum up what virtualization is, its a process running on an existing computer that acts and is viewed/perceived by other devices as an independent device. For example, operating systems can run in a virtual setting, where the operating system believes and acts as it is running on its own hardware, even though it is running within an existing operating system.Virtualization is used to run multiple operating systems, and run applications throughout a network. When a company relies on certain applications, but their needed throughout multiple computer, the application can be run virtually off of a network, but the computer will behave as if it is being run locally on the machine itself.
Now applying this technology for server virtualization, one can already begin to see some of the great advantages it has to offer. Right of the back by virtualizing servers you are literally substituting a virtual server for a real server, this means by virtualizing you are saving space and power. In 2013 saving power is a huge concern, and with the amount of power servers consume in consideration, virtualization offers a lot of savings. by limiting the number of physical servers, you are also saving on wiring costs and other peripherals needed to operate said servers. This not only saves in additional costs, but also makes it easier to manage operations using less servers.
Server virtualization also means that you are not locked to a specific server manufacturer. In many cases this isn’t a big deal, but in specific cases down the road the manufacture lock in can become really annoying; most common when purchasing certain equipment and finding it incompatible with your hardware. Virtual machines can also be moved from server to server with relative ease. This is an incredibly powerful tool at ones disposal as it can prevent data loss and ensures your “machine” can always be recovered regardless of what happens to its physical host. Many data centers adapted the “one app/ one server” policy which required one server to host a single application, with virtualization you can have one server virtualize all of the applications without the need for a physical server for each one.
Another benefit of virtualization is its ability to extend the lifetime of legacy applications. Many organizations worldwide are suing software applications that are outdated by todays standards, these applications are rarely carried over to new systems due to incompatibility or fear of changing anything. With virtualization this can be changed as even those applications can be isolated and run within servers. This ensures uptime, and the life of these applications.