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Datacenter Virtualization

 

Definition

Datacenter virtualization is a sum of actions that move your physical servers, storage and applications in a virtual environment. Server consolidation is an approach to the efficient usage of computer server resources in order to reduce the total number of servers or server locations that an organization requires to fulfill the business needs. These processes take advantages of virtualization technologies which allow the creation of virtual machines. Multiple virtual machines can be hosted on a single piece of hardware.

User Benefits

In a virtualized environment is quite easy to maintain a high availability infrastructure for servers and applications. Replication, back-up and restore technologies can take advantages from a virtual environment too, which allows organizations to implement disaster recovery plans with fewer resources.

Then, the major benefits for the user are that he has high level of access to the company resources any time which translates in a greater productivity and increased profitability.

Nevertheless, by hosting multiple virtual machines in a single server, an organization can control costs, improve availability and increase business agility.

Business Impact

As we have defined what server consolidation is, the major savings result primarily from reducing the number of servers that must be acquired, deployed, and managed. This reduces the cost of hardware, software, and the personnel that maintain the infrastructure can do more will less.

Consolidation has other long-term benefits as well, such as the following:

Standardization and automation. Baselines can be easily tracked. You can set a gold image, for example, and update it as necessary and then all the other servers will update after the gold image with the latest patches, service packs making management of the servers more consistent and efficient.

Utilization. By using fewer servers, you can increase resource utilization and avoid another acquisition. For example, it is less likely that one server will be running out of processor power while another has processing capacity to spare. Having fewer servers also creates an opportunity for fewer software licenses, or the opportunity to ensure better utilization of software licenses. Antivirus licenses, for example, will be installed only on the host.

Security. Fewer servers present a smaller attack surface and create an environment that is easier to monitor for security problems and patch in the event of vulnerabilities.

Management. Fewer servers combined with the other improvements of consolidation, such as reducing the number of locations where servers are installed, may result in fewer administrative tasks. The administrators will do a better job managing them, such as keeping them up-to-date with patches. Also, the backup and restore time window will be reduced.

Environment. Centralizing and reducing the numbers of servers will reduce the floor space. This translates in less energy consumption for cooling, powering the systems and also, less space to be secured.  

Security. In the virtual environment you can isolate virtual servers or virtual resources one from another, in a way that if a single virtual server on the host is compromised, the other virtual servers will remain unaffected.

From the application point of view, by having each application within its own virtual server you can prevent one application from impacting another application when upgrades or changes are made.

By consolidating servers and applications you can better manage the future growth and you have improved ways to provision resources: easily creating virtual machines instead of using new hardware and reducing the need to acquire new servers.


Products supporting this technology

VMware

Consolidation and containment.

 

So, why to consolidate? Why to reduce the number of servers? Why to enter in the virtualization realm?

There are very simple reasons. Multiple studies shown that through virtualization you can:

  • Reduce hardware and operating costs by as much as 50% and energy costs by 80%, saving more money for every server workload virtualized
  • Reduce the time it takes to provision new servers by up to 70%
  • Decrease downtime and improve reliability with business continuity and built-in data disaster recovery
  • Deliver IT services on-demand now and in the future, independent of hardware, OS, application or infrastructure providers

All of these advantages allow you to better use your resources, financial and human, to do more with less and to be competitive on the market.

 Let’s take for example, the server utilization part. We all agree that the computing capabilities are ahead of applications development. Every major developer struggles to build operating systems and applications that use minimal resources as much as possible.

Hardware manufacturers build more and more capable systems and there are many situations where a single server is underutilized. The question is why to let that happen, why to waste computing power, cooling power and space floor?

The traditional approach, one server, one application or workloads inevitably leads to over-provisioning and underutilization of hardware assets. Most servers operate at only about 5-15% of their total load capacity.

The costs of delivering power, cooling, network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, administrative overhead and real estate to underutilized servers continues to increase. Through consolidation, you can eliminate server sprawl by converting your physical machines into fully functional virtual machines.  

Fewer servers means less money spent on energy consumption due to reduced power and cooling requirements. Cost savings can be significant. This approach is friendly with the environment too. You do not waste power just to keep the lights on.

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