Virtualization is not one of the latest IT trends and it is not new. However, in many organizations, it is something new, as all sizes of companies are investing in virtualization technologies in order to enjoy the many benefits that it offers: energy savings, desktop and server provisioning, fewer physical servers, better disaster recovery, increased availability and uptime, and more.
Making the switch to virtualizations results in workloads occurring on servers that are not connected to specific physical hardware. It allows for multiple virtual workloads to take place simultaneously on the same machine. Some of the immediate benefits offered by virtualization include lower costs and higher server utilization rates within the data centers. There are also more sophisticated advantages.
Server virtualization offers IT management a proven and revolutionary technology solution. It offers capabilities that would not be possible with physical infrastructure. From an economic standpoint, the benefits offered by server virtualization focus on cost savings since multiple applications can be installed on one physical server.
So how can your business benefit from using a virtual infrastructure? The following are the top five benefits:
1. Lower Hardware Expenses
Theoretically, it is claimed that humans use only 10% of their brain capacity. A majority of servers that are in a strictly physical environment are seriously under-utilized and use only an estimated 5-15% of their total capacity. When a cloud computing/virtualized server approach is implemented, it increases hardware utilization since one physical server is now able to hold multiple virtual machines. This means applications do not need their own server any long since each of the virtual machines that are on the physical server runs them now. IDC reported in 2011 a 40% reduction in software and hardware expenses for IT departments that implemented a server virtualization solution.
2. Faster Server Deployment and Provisioning
Server virtualization allows for system deployment and provisioning within minutes, enabling an existing virtual machine to be cloned without all of the hours and costs that are associated with having to install a new physical server. Businesses with virtual environments are looking back and cringing at the long, drawn-out process of filling a purchase order out, waiting for the new server to come in, and then having to wait for hours for the applications and operating system to finish installing.
Costs and time add up significantly, along with the increased number of cables and racks that you need to buy in order to accommodate the ever-growing number of physical servers that you need. For most businesses, datacenter virtualization is a necessity in order to keep up with the proliferation of data resources that are needed in order to keep up with the competition.
3. Disaster Recovery is Greatly Improved
Perhaps the most important benefit offered by cloud hosting is having the ability safely and quickly move virtual machines to a different server. Backing up important data can be done effectively and quickly since your company can easily get a replication site created. A majority of enterprise virtualization platforms come with software that helps to automate failover when a disaster strikes. Also, the software allows you to test your disaster recovery failover – it’s like having a fire escape plan for your data center. If a disaster occurs in your data center, your infrastructure is set up already to take the appropriate measures for a safe and fast recovery. Try to achieve this with multiple physical servers – talk about a disaster.
4. Significant Cost Savings on Energy
Another benefit offered by server virtualization is when you switch from physical servers over to virtual machines they can be consolidated onto fewer physical servers. This results in a significant reduction in power and cooling costs. You will be going green and have more money to spend on other things. VMware reports that energy costs are reduced by up to 80% by server consolidation. Another major benefit is having the ability to power the servers down without users or applications being affected.
5. Increased Productivity
When you have fewer physical servers you have fewer of them to manage and maintain. As discussed above in benefit 2, applications that took days or weeks in the past to provision can be done in minutes now. That means your IT staff will have more time to work on more productive tasks like raising revenue, cutting expenses, and driving your new business initiatives.
Many positive transformations are brought about by server virtualization, including reduced hardware expenses, improved server deployment and provisioning, improved disaster recovery solutions, economic and efficient use of energy, as well as increased employee productivity. However, it might still appear to be an overwhelming task to switch over to a virtual infrastructure. It definitely can be, without the proper expertise!