When almost every business around you is moving towards virtualization, it is important to review some of the facts before making a final decision on your hosting solution. I shall provide some facts that may help you to decide what solution will be best for your growing business.
Virtualization is basically a consolidation of number of physical servers onto a more powerful machine capable of handling the increased load. Generally physical servers use only a small portion of the total CPU, RAM, and I/O, it makes sense to get more out of your hardware.
For every new technology that came, people will adapt and use what works best for them, while others do it in the old fashion way. Let’s check some facts.
The first reason to virtualize is to save money. This may be hardware, human resource, or energy related savings. An ideal virtualization plan should result in lower equipment, power, management and hardware costs. Most businesses will review their current situation and determine where they can save money.
The cost of buying individual servers is much higher than virtualization. Even though you may save costs on hardware, the costs of the virtualization software and licensing may be high. You may have to treat each virtual server as a physical instance like before, so normal licensing costs for each virtual server stays as same.
Performance is not as good if you increase the work load for a single machine must handle. While the virtualization hardware is getting faster and faster each year, you still have more resources being used with virtualization. Performance needs for an application should to be addressed on a case by case basis.
Many dedicated servers are only using about 20% of their computing capacity. This is a waste of usable resource and also one of the main reason companies are looking for virtualization. Trying to get the most out of your hardware is more difficult using a dedicated server environment.
A server that is running one application will be faster than the same server running multiple applications. There are times when a virtual server cannot perform like a dedicated server and we all have to determine when that time comes. For example consider a database server. All things being equal the dedicated server wins on performance but may loose on efficiency.
3. Managing Time
Many of the virtualization products have advanced management tools that help you to monitor and review information quicker across more servers. This can reduce the human resource needed and less 3rd party software that you have to learn along with less errors. When you have more items to manage, the risk of making mistakes also increases.
Dedicated hosting solutions are more complex due to their hardware separation. Hardware management requires more time. For virtualization, many of these items are build into the software package.
4. Disaster Recovery
Most virtualization software comes with a number of features that may increase server up-time. If one virtual server fails, it will come up instantly on another machine. Load balancing is also easier. Many packages also come with their own data backup solutions such as ’snapshots’ to protect data. In case of Physical server, we have to opt other backup and recovery options.
5. Point of Failure
If you have 10 virtual servers on a single piece of hardware and if that goes down, it won’t be good. Minimizing these risks may require additional hardware like redundant physical servers and SANS. This adds more equipment and cost which are the exact items you are trying to reduce.
We can’t let our entire business shutting down due to a single failure. With dedicated servers we know that a single server failure rarely takes down everything. Virtualization increases the risk of a major event when you loose a single server. One of virtualizations selling point is the ability to load balance servers easily. We can say that the separation of services could be a good thing for many different configurations.
Setting up a security plan for a virtual server environment is easier because you can focus on a universal security model. A more focused approach for overall security across fewer dedicated machines is easier than security for more hardware, right?
Your virtual server might be on the same physical server of another company. This is especially true if you are using a hosting company on a cloud environment. If you are leasing cloud space from a hosting provider how are they protecting your data from the thousands of other people on the cloud. The security of your virtual server depends on many factors and could complicate a few items when dealing with industry regulations.
7. Ease in IT Growth
Adding a new server or increasing RAM, CPU, or hard disk is as easy as pressing a few buttons using Virtualization. The ease of deploying new servers can decrease the time it takes to launch new products and services. When you have to add a new physical server to your environment it takes some planning. You have to purchase equipment and then load the OS, security patches, and plan out physically connecting the server to your network. Using virtualization you can usually bring up another server within minutes by using a copy of a virtual server. If you are a company adding 10 servers per month then this will be the perfect choice. The virtualization of servers does equal less hardware which can help reducing our net power usage with virtualization.
Many virtualization products come with software that helps you migrate applications from your older dedicated servers to new virtual servers. This means that upgrades to your environment can be much easier as long as you stay with similar virtualization products.
Managing thousands of dedicated servers may not be great for a company’s image when there are other choices out there. If you have the money to invest and you intend on developing software for other platforms, then invest in setting up your machine to support virtualization
As I said the benefits are going to be unique to each business case, each user community and enterprise. If you have any suggestions or questions, we would be happy to talk to you!
About the Author :
Sajan Sebastian works as a Software Engineer in Bobcares. He joined Bobcares in February 2011. He loves to travel and read books.