One Reason To Virtualize

August 23rd, 2010 by Shaun McNerney Leave a reply »

“Our server room had run out of space, power, and cooling capacity. Several new servers were waiting to be added. We needed to consolidate our servers. This was the one reason why we decided it was time to virtualize.”

This is something that I have heard more than once. My reply is always, “That sounds great!” What I really want to tell them is that they are about to discover there is more than one reason to virtualize their servers. Here are a few of my favorites.

Reason #1 – Consolidation of servers
Virtualization makes it easy to replace six (or more) servers with one. This greatly reduces / simplifies power, network, and KVM connections. Electrical and cooling upgrades to your data room are no longer required (for a while at least).

Reason #2 – Engineering Test
Virtualization makes it easy to test software releases against multiple OS / browser platforms. Imagine replacing a room full of test machines with a collection of files (virtual machine images). Engineers can then use these virtual machine images to test new releases against every platform using only their laptop computer. No more building or managing test systems.

Reason #3 – Security
Virtualization does simplify the task of rolling out security patches and updates. My favorite security benefit is virtualization enables supporting new customers with dedicated (virtual) systems. Separated servers helps keep customer data safe and secure.

Reason #4 – Agility
Virtualization makes it easy to adapt to changing business conditions. New servers can be deployed in minutes rather than days. System upgrades will go smoothly now that IT can “practice and perfect” the upgrade process using clones of the real servers.

Reason #5 – Compatibility
Virtualization allows continued use of legacy / mature (older) applications. For example, a Windows XP virtual machine can be used to run “XP Only” applications on Vista and Windows 7 systems. This helps to reduce software costs and there is no need for retraining.

Reason #6 – Business Continuity
Virtualization lets you deploy a virtual machine image on multiple hosts. You can operate a primary server with a secondary (hot standby) system. When the primary goes down, the secondary server can go online instantly. No more half day outages while IT rebuilds the exchange server.

Summary
There are many reasons to virtualize. It only takes one compelling business reason to actually do it. Once you virtualize, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

So, what will you do with all of your old computers?


Shaun McNerney

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