Virtualization isn't new for small businesses, some companies have been enjoying the benefits of server virtualization for many years. However, the concept is new to other growing organizations. Virtualization allows you to consolidate the number of servers you have in your company using one of several virtualization packages. Let's take a look at a few major reasons to consider server virtualization.
If you have a lower number of servers you have less hardware to worry about, which equals less maintenance, more physical space, and less electricity to power them all. Most of the time, your servers are only using a small portion of their capabilities. A single powerful physical server is more cost effective and can run multiple server operating systems at the same time. The techie term for the physical server is "Host", while the techie term for the 1 or 2 or maybe 3 virtual servers is "Guest". The "Host" manages its physical hardware resources and provides them to its Guests". Ultimately it means you as a business owner can save some costs by not having to purchase 3 physical servers, although licensing costs are essentially the same - you won't save any cost there!
We've successfully upgraded several clients recently to an "intermediate" stage using server virtualization as a springboard. There are a few scenarios in which you can benefit:
First, let's say you have an older sever that's 5 years old. The operating system is fine, but there is the very real risk that the hardware itself could start to fail. The last thing we want to deal with is a failed part that we can't find anymore. Plus, the manufacturer's warranty is could be expired if you haven't kept track of that and paid for an extended warranty (something we recommend for an older server, just in case). With server virtualization technologies, we can setup brand new server hardware and "forklift" your current server operating system onto the new hardware. This is definitely a temporary upgrade, as we recommend moving along with most current operating system as soon as your budget allows, but cost of the type of upgrade is typically 1/3 of what a full upgrade/migration project would cost. Plus the money spent on the new hardware is not wasted, once you're ready to complete the project, we can move forward with the remaining 2/3 of the work.
Another way we've helped a client was when they suddenly needed to introduce an entirely new business application to run their operation more efficiently. We decided the most cost-effective way to do this was to buy one powerful server now, setup the new application server is a virtual environment, and then later perform a upgrade/migration of their existing server., which handles their file storage, email and printing. Once the upgrade/migration project is complete, we can shutdown the original server, which is about 5 years old. Then end result is they still have one physical server, but it's got two "Guest' servers running on its hardware. Much more efficient and saved them several thousand dollars!
If you have multiple applications running on a single server, a change or upgrade to one application can impact another. Some applications may have specific requirements that cause conflicts in other applications. Separate virtual servers can be set up for each application to prevent this. This leads into the next big benefit.
If you have older applications that require older operating systems, but other applications require the latest OS, you can run both on the same hardware. Virtualization supports many different OS configurations.
A standard server configuration can be built and rolled out again and again whenever you need it. This makes server rollouts a much faster process (and of course, you don't need to worry about getting hardware).
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