In the traditional data world, companies have had to purchase and maintain separate, dedicated servers for each independent application running on the network…Not exactly a recipe for economic success. In terms of maintenance, each server requires space, power, cooling, installation, integration and administration, each an expensive proposition in their own right.
The proposition becomes even LESS economical when you consider that space, power and cooling costs remain constant whether a resource is 7 percent utilized or 97 percent utilized. Resource utilization has become more erratic and unpredictable in recent years due to increased Web-based access to applications by remote employees.
On top of these financial points, there’s the practical issue of business continuance. Dedicated servers can serve as a single point of failure. When one crashes, your application is down until the server can be repaired or replaced.
The good news is that virtualization technology is a practical answer to server sprawl, low resource utilization, management control and application availability. The term virtualization broadly describes the separation of a resource or request for a service from the underlying physical delivery of that service. With virtual memory, for example, computer software gains access to more memory than is physically installed, via the background swapping of data to disk storage.
In simpler terms, virtualization allows multiple operating systems (and applications) to run simultaneously on the same physical machine. Each virtual machine operates independently of others but shares the same computing processing resources. In essence, one physical server becomes multiple servers – or virtual machines. Multiple operating systems can be run on a single server because the software conceals its resources. Application memory space is maximized and the server becomes capable of running programs from competing software manufacturers.
Virtualization not only reduces the amount of space needed for servers, but it also reduces the overhead cost of running a data center. The fewer server racks you have, the less electricity is spent to run them and less money goes into air conditioning to keep them cool.
Furthermore, virtualization supports rapid setup compared to the much slower requisition, procurement and deployment schedules normally dictated in the hardware world of business. Instead of weeks, virtual machines can be established and running within days of the request.
Did you know?
- According to Forrester Research, 40 percent of North American firms used virtualization software in 2006, an 11 percent increase from 2005. Awareness also grew: 73 percent of North American companies said they are interested or already integrating virtualization into their servers, network or storage technology.