Reduced Hardware Footprint: A Big Benefit Of Virtualization

Chat-256Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest contribution from Andy Palmer, a Microsoft-certified, 3rd Line IT Engineer at HBP Systems LTD. HBP is an IT and cloud consultancy located in the UK. Follow Andy on Twitter @Andy_HBPGroup

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Virtualization is a popular new technology that has been going around for a while now – it seems that everything in technology infrastructure is moving towards using it. It doesn’t matter which hypervisor you are using – VMware, Citrix or Microsoft – they all offer the same benefits, from lower power consumption of your server room, to greater redundancy and space-saving ability.

How Virtualization Can Reduce Your Hardware Footprint

reduce-your-hardware-footprintNormally in an older office setting, you would have 4 to 5 physical servers all running the required network applications (DC, Exchange, 3rd Party Apps, SQL, Remote Desktop server and so forth) with each server requiring an OS and hardware to run it on. But, with the hypervisor moving the Operating System in to a more abstract layer where it’s no longer tied to the hardware it’s running on, it allows for a lot of freedom to be taken with it, the first being the ability to condense hardware down to a bare minimum.

By looking at your existing infrastructure you will notice that, out of all the servers you are running, some are barely using CPU or RAM, which is going to waste. While others may be ‘maxing’ themselves out and running slowly as a result. With virtualization you can take the hardware and condense it down to 1 physical unit which still has the same collective power of all 4 physical servers. You then run your 4 servers from this one unit, allowing for the hardware to be fully utilized by all your servers and lowering the power consumption from your server room.

But That Doesn’t Mean You Should Have NO Hardware…

However, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket and this is true for virtualization. By adding a second physical server to your virtualisation design you add greater redundancy and lower down time. With virtualisation you can ‘live-migrate’ servers from one physical server to another without the end-user noticing that the physical hardware and location has changed.

This allows for offline maintenance of your physical server without downtime for your end-users. The hypervisor can do this automatically in many cases which means, if one physical server loses power or crashes, it will move where possible or bring the affected servers back on-line to the other physical servers, turning what could be 1 to 8 hours downtime to 1 to 8 minutes.

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