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An Introduction to Server Virtualization

By Mike Faster

Server virtualization is a hot topic today with good reason.  It can reduce your costs, improve your business continuity management, and improve your testing and development environments.  You need to have an understanding of virtualization.  Here is an overview and some basics to get your education started. 


What is Server Virtualization?
“Server virtualization” refers to the process of taking one physical server and dividing it up into multiple isolated virtual (or “logical”) servers. Each of these logical servers functions in its own self-contained virtual environment, enabling you to run multiple operating systems concurrently on a single physical server. For example, through server virtualization you can have an Exchange server, a SharePoint server, and a file server all running on the same physical server – without any risk of the individual servers interacting with or affecting each other.


What are the Benefits of Server Virtualization?
There are several reasons why virtualization is becoming increasingly attractive to organizations of all sizes, including:


  • Reduced Costs: It is quite common for hardware utilization levels of datacenter production servers to hover around 5 to 15% of capacity. In addition, many organizations find it difficult to expand their datacenters because of space and power constraints. Virtualization solves these problems by allowing you to consolidate several production servers into one. The end result: greater hardware utilization, less hardware needed to run your server workloads, and less money spent on operating and maintaining your physical servers. Virtualization also allows you to easily increase or decrease server resources in response to changes in demand.
  • Improved Business Continuity Management: Because logical servers can be both copied and clustered, server virtualization can be an excellent way to reduce or minimize interruptions and provide for efficient disaster recovery. Robust and flexible virtualized environments help minimize the impact of scheduled and unscheduled downtime by allowing you to more easily create clustered and load-balanced environments.
  • Quicker and Easier Testing Environments: One of the biggest areas for server virtualization is in software testing and development. Virtualization can be used to create automated and consolidated testing environments that are agile enough to accommodate your organizations’ constantly changing requirements. Server virtualization minimizes the amount of test hardware that you need to have, improves life-cycle management of your application software, and makes it fast and easy to change or reproduce test environments.


More and more companies utilize virtualization, especially when rolling out test environments, web farms, or even some Exchange server roles because it provides real benefits.

For more information contact Jimmy Arias at Coyote Creek Consulting, 1.888.269.6838 or 408.383.9200





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