Virtualisation is a technology that’s been around since the 1960’s having been introduced by IBM.
In essence, it allows one physical server to run several operating systems at once, all kept entirely separate. The upshot is that your one physical box can make itself appear as two, three or more servers.
As an example, you could take one HP DL380 server and install one copy of Windows to be your file server, another to be your database server, another as a domain controller, and another as your Exchange email server. Suddenly, you’ve got 4 separate servers running on one piece of server hardware.
As most servers these days far exceed the performance needed by the typical small business you can often replace two or three existing servers with one, bringing immediate cost savings both from purchase and running costs.
Lets take a look at the advantages this can bring:
- Efficiency. Reducing the number of physical servers you run reduces purchase costs, maintenance costs, service contracts costs and running costs. What’s not to like ?
- Backup. Virtualisation enables you to take backups of the virtual servers themselves, rather than just the files on the server. Restoring a server is simply a matter of copying a file back from the backup.
- Disaster Recovery. Keep a second server off site that is kept up to date with ready-to-run copies of your servers. In the event of a disaster, this server is ready to go – no multi-hour restores, the server simply need to be powered on.
- Upgrading. Virtual machines can be assigned extra CPU, memory and disk space as needed. Need a more powerful physical machine? No need to reinstall, simply copy the virtual machine to the new server.
- Snapshotting. Before making any potentially dangerous changes ( service packs, updates )to your server you can take a snapshot – if you hit a problem you can instantly roll back to the working snapshot.
- Testing. Being able to create a new server within minutes mean you can create test new application and configurations without having to purchase expensive test hardware
There are many other advantages to virtualisation – talk to us to see how you can streamline your operation and increase their functionality at the same time by using virtualisation to your advantage.