Virtualization is the process of running multiple independent operating systems on one physical piece of hardware. The goal of server virtualization is to reduce the total number of physical servers while maintaining the high-level of performance and availability. The goal of desktop virtualization is to standardize and secure the end-user environment while reducing maintenance costs.
The most popular virtualization products are Hyper V (Microsoft), VMWare (EMC) and Xen (Citrix). Par3.IT supports all of these products and deploys them by matching our customer’s requirements with the particular strengths of each product.
The most widely talked about advantages of virtualization are the cost savings it can provide. It starts with reducing your investment in physical equipment. Less equipment, less space needed to host the equipment. And that results in less power consumption and cooling.
However, besides potential cost savings, Par3.IT believes the most important benefits of virtualization are those that will have an immediate impact on your business such as better resource utilization, higher reliability, and greater flexibility.
Most servers today typically utilize 20% or less of their available resources. Traditionally, to get the most out of a server, organizations allocate more than one application or function to each machine. While this does better utilize a server’s resources, the more applications that run on one operating system, the less reliable it becomes. Best practices dictate that all critical business functions should reside on their own individual servers. What we then end up with are many different, expensive boxes that sit and do nothing most of the time. Each of these physical machines take up space, require power, cooling, and maintenance.
Virtualization eliminates this problem by allowing you to run many different servers and operating systems on one physical machine. If one of your servers or applications crash it can be repaired or restarted without affecting any of your other systems. Having fewer physical machines to maintain will reduce IT costs and utility bills.
Physical hardware can break down, hard drives crash, motherboards short out, and memory goes bad. The impact this can have on your business is devastating. A typical restore can take 4 to 24 hours depending on the complexity of the server configuration and how much data needs to be restored. This is expensive not only in man hours to complete the repair, but even more so in the lost productivity of all affected employees.
Properly designed, a virtualized infrastructure can provide far greater reliability and less down time than individual machines. The keys to the design are redundancy and shared storage. Every piece of hardware has a replica that can take over if one of the components fails. If one of the physical machines fail, the virtual machines running on it can be seamlessly moved to a running machine while the original is repaired. Also when redundant storage is placed at an offsite location all your servers can be easily recovered at that location for an all but bullet-proof disaster recovery plan.
With physical servers, when an application requires more resources like memory or more processing speed you are required to purchase physical parts, then take down the server for some period of time to install these parts. With virtualization, physical resources can easily be reassigned from a pool or from one server to another with no downtime or cost involved. In addition Virtual machines can easily be moved to newer faster hardware as your business grows without the need to do any cumbersome data migrations or reinstallations. Virtualization also allows organizations to setup temporary servers to test a new application or new version of software without affecting the production environment with no additional overhead. When the task is complete that server can be archived or destroyed and its resources assigned to a new server or pool.
As you can see Virtualization is a very powerful technology, but there are many factors to take into account when finding something that fits your business and the options can oftentimes be confusing. Let your Citrix Certified partners at Par3.IT guide you to a virtualization solution that is flexible and scalable enough to fit your business.