Virtualization saves money, energy, and space. After you’ve decided to go virtual, take steps to make implementation easier. Virtualization reduces the number of servers you have to run, which means savings on hardware costs and also on the total amount of energy needed to run hardware and provide cooling. Virtualization is a green technology through and through. Energy savings brought on by widespread adoption of virtualization technologies would negate the need to build so many power plants and would thus conserve our earth’s energy resources. With virtualization in place, system administrators would not have to support so many machines and could then move from firefighting to more strategic administration tasks. Virtualization enables higher utilization rates of hardware because each server supports enough virtual machines to increase its utilization from the typical 15% to as much as 80%. With software vendors tending more and more towards delivering their products preinstalled in virtual machines (also known as virtual appliances), much of the traditional installation and configuration work associated with software will disappear.
VSphere is all about features, but if you’re a big Microsoft shop and that’s everything you run, it might make sense to use Hyper-V, because all your expertise is already in Microsoft products, and it’s a better fit.
If you’re looking for things like advanced features, Microsoft is lacking in a lot of areas like fault tolerance and Distributed Power Management. You do have to pay for vSphere’s advanced features, which is why Microsoft often says that vSphere costs too much. But the reason it costs so much is that you’re getting a lot more for your money.
XenServer is is Linux-based and Microsoft is so predominant, you don’t see it deployed as much as Hyper-V and vSphere. Shops that use Citrix products, or Citrix’s desktop virtualization product, might look at XenServer to stay with the same vendor.
There are a free edition of all of the hypervisors. It doesn’t have a lot of the advanced features that you get in the paid editions, but it’s still a great platform for virtualization if you just need something simple.
Migrating physical servers over to virtual machines and consolidating them onto far fewer physical servers means lowering monthly power and cooling costs in the data center.
In addition to saving more of your company’s green with a smaller energy footprint, server consolidation with virtualization will also reduce the overall footprint of your entire data center. That means far fewer servers, less networking gear, a smaller number of racks needed — all of which translates into less data center floor space required.
Virtualization allows you to easily build out a self-contained lab or test environment, operating on its own isolated network.
Server virtualization enables elastic capacity to provide system provisioning and deployment at a moment’s notice. You can quickly clone a gold image, master template, or existing virtual machine to get a server up and running within minutes.
Because server virtualization abstracts away the underlying hardware and replaces it with virtual hardware, data center managers and owners gain a lot more flexibility when it comes to the server equipment they can choose from.
Most server virtualization platforms now offer a number of advanced features that just aren’t found on physical servers, which helps with business continuity and increased uptime. Though the vendor feature names may be different, they usually offer capabilities such as live migration, storage migration, fault tolerance, high availability, and distributed resource scheduling.
Virtualization offers an organization three important components when it comes to building out a disaster recovery solution. The first is its hardware abstraction capability. By removing the dependency on a particular hardware vendor or server model, a disaster recovery site no longer needs to keep identical hardware on hand to match the production environment, and IT can save money by buying cheaper hardware in the DR site since it rarely gets used.
In the physical world, data centers typically moved to a “one app/one server" model in order to isolate applications. But this caused physical server sprawl, increased costs, and underutilized servers. Server virtualization provides application isolation and removes application compatibility issues by consolidating many of these virtual machines across far fewer physical servers.
Let’s be honest — you probably have old legacy applications still running in your environment. These applications probably fit into one or more of these categories: It doesn’t run on a modern operating system, it may not run on newer hardware, your IT team is afraid to touch it, and chances are good that the person or company who created it is no longer around to update it. By virtualizing and encapsulating the application and its environment, you can extend its life, maintain uptime, and finally get rid of that old Pentium machine hidden in the corner of the data center.
As much as you think you’ve been talked to death about virtualizing your environment, that probably doesn’t even compare to the amount of times in the last year alone that you’ve had someone talk to you about joining “the cloud." The good news here is that by virtualizing your servers and abstracting away the underlying hardware, you are preparing yourself for a move into the cloud.
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