Server virtualization is by no means new or revolutionary. As a matter of fact, the first move toward this technology occurred more than a decade ago, although many are still questioning its validity. Ask any IT guru and they’ll be quick to point out how virtualizing servers has dramatically increased their company's productivity while generally making professional life less of a hassle. If you're still not convinced about the wonders that await you in the world of server virtualization, here are just a handful of this technology's possible benefits. (For background reading, see Server Virtualization: A Move Toward Efficiency.)
Potential Cost Savings
It may seem obvious, but some people still don't understand how server virtualization will save their company dramatic amounts of money. Put quite simply, server virtualizations cut down on the physical hardware necessary to store data, as well as the energy required to run all of that machinery. A massive, multibillion dollar conglomerate will benefit from purchasing a handful of massive servers at $30,000 apiece. However, if you're running three websites or a family-owned small business, consider sharing the hosting expenses with an Internet service provider's clients to greatly reduce your costs.
Protecting the Planet, One Server at a Time
At the dawn of server virtualization, a group of well-meaning individuals brought up a significant point: Imagine the money and energy required to power a data center filled with 500 physical servers. After using server virtualization, the actual number of servers was reduced to 10. It doesn't take a degree in economics to realize the money required to power 10 servers is far less than that required for 500. Server virtualization, at its core, is a green technology, and you don't have to be a dedicated environmentalist to appreciate it as such; less energy means lower costs. (Learn more in 5 Reasons Why Green IT Is Pure Gold for Business.)
In Case of Emergency ...
Every company, no matter how massive or small, has a well-constructed disaster recovery plan waiting in the wings. Basically, most companies take on the laborious task of creating an exact replica of their data center, complete with the same make and model of their original servers. This building sits, collecting dust, waiting for an unfortunate occurrence that often doesn't come. Server virtualization allows companies to build this back-up data center with cheaper servers and components, simply because the necessity for matching hardware is eliminated. Also, many server virtualization platforms come equipped with software that allows a company to test their disaster recovery plan. This permits an organization to run a yearly test of their secondary equipment, which eliminates a massive headache in the unfortunate event of an actual disaster.
Ease Yourself into the "Cloud"
It might be a long way off, but if you're considering moving any data permanently into the cloud, you've just made the process far less complex by first virtualizing your servers. The data stored on virtualized servers is free from the shackles of hardware, meaning that once you've decided to move into a public or private cloud, the transition will be much smoother. (Read more in Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds: What's the Difference?)
The Superiority over Physical Servers
In case you don't already know, there are quite a few terms pertaining to server virtualization that you should familiarize yourself with. They include: fault tolerance, storage migration, live migration and, last but not least, distributed resource scheduling. All of these terms are made possible through server virtualization, and are otherwise not available if you continue to rely solely on physical servers. The term most companies are interested in is "migration," which is the ability to move data from one server to another. A virtualized server allows companies to migrate data with greater ease, plus little to no latency.
As with any aspect of virtualization, security is always a paramount concern. There are often horror stories involving improperly set permissions and unauthorized access, but there are ways for any business owner to ensure their virtualized data is well-protected. When looking for the ideal endpoint protection software for your virtualized information, choose a program that is simple to install, manage and protects your system from malware, spyware and any other omnipresent cyber threats.