There are many contexts in which server virtualization can be a real asset to an organization. But to appreciate its perks, it is first necessary to understand its works. You also need to understand what is server virtualization.
To that end, here is a quick introduction to the ins and outs of server virtualization. This will help you to see whether it is right for your business needs.
- 1 From Physical To Virtual
- 2 A Brief History Lesson
- 3 Exploring The Varieties Of Virtualization
- 4 Reasons To Embrace Server Virtualization
- 5 Conclusion
From Physical To Virtual
The concept of what is server virtualization is not an especially tricky one to grasp. Rather than relying on a single unit of hardware to act as the infrastructural underpinning for one server. In a virtual environment, this same setup is done again entirely digitally. Mirroring the properties of a physical equivalent without actually being physical itself.
All of this works at a software level. It means that one physical server can play host to several virtual servers. Each of which is effectively independent of its stablemates.
Another upshot of this is that users of a given virtual server will not have access to any other virtualized machines running on the same physical hardware, usually at a remote data centre. As such, organizations may be sharing hardware resources with others without even realizing it.
That is not to say that monitoring virtual server performance is unnecessary. Following recommendations for Hyper-V and VMWare, monitoring is sensible if you want to avoid unwanted performance problems. So in many ways, server virtualization will bring all the same practical benefits and considerations of operating a physical server. It also comes with a whole heap of other advantages.
A Brief History Lesson
While server virtualization may seem like a relatively modern concept, it has been doing the rounds for well over half a century, with researchers at IBM foreseeing a future in which mainframes would not be bound by the physical hardware that fuelled them.
Even so, it was not until the turn of the millennium that solutions like VMware entered the market and shook things up. This allowed many businesses to consolidate their server resources. This allowed businesses to also overcome the sprawl issues, which had led to vast inefficiencies up until this point.
Modern IT infrastructures have evolved even further. The core principles of server virtualization and the benefits that it can bring to the table remain consistent.
Exploring The Varieties Of Virtualization
Now that you have a basic idea of what is server virtualization is, it is worth pointing out that this is something of an umbrella term you can use to describe more than one type of setup. There are a few common iterations of virtualization that have their intricacies and implications.
First up is full virtualization, which, as the name suggests, is the most comprehensive of the bunch. Making use of a hypervisor so that separate OS instances can run side by side on a given hardware stack. You can replicate even hardware itself through emulation to ensure the desired functionality and compatibility is available.
Next, there are various subcategories such as system and kernel-level virtualization. It comes down to the usage you require as to which one you select. Working with specialists to pinpoint the perfect setup is a good idea.
Reasons To Embrace Server Virtualization
Many motivations might prompt you to shift to a virtual server setup. Chief amongst which is the cost-effectiveness of this approach.
Let’s look at the benefits of server virtualization.
Reduced Hardware And Facilities Cost
Rather than needing to buy an entirely new set of server hardware for each server you want to establish at a significant cost, you can share existing resources more affordably through virtualization and scale your resources more appropriately according to the ebb and flow in demand.
Simplified Physical Infrastructure
Likewise, if you are responsible for maintaining the server hardware on-premises, you will not have to dedicate as much floor space to it nor portion out as much of your IT department’s time and energy on the process of maintaining it. Energy savings, in particular, are relevant not only if you are aiming to keep down costs but also make your organization more sustainable, at a time when this is increasingly important to customers and clients.
Furthermore, when you decide to deploy a new server or make changes and upgrades to your setup, a virtualized environment makes it much simpler to implement these alterations. Conversely, if you decide to rely on a physical server as a replacement, you will need to prepare to wait for the hardware to arrive on-site before you can even begin leveraging it.
Virtualization also helps to overcome compatibility complications. These complications could otherwise exist if the OS you are using does not support the 3rd party apps you want to run; for example, You might use Linux to run a virtual Windows server. This means that OS fragmentation is less of an issue. With the varieties of virtualization available, you can create a completely bespoke setup.
Improved Storage Management
Another perk to keep in mind to know what is server virtualization can make your servers more reliable and resilient, so you can carry out that disaster recovery quickly and with minimal unplanned downtime involved. This is because you can copy and store entire VMs elsewhere so that you can call them upon if your main configuration suffers disruption.
Ease The Process Of Digital Transformation
Finally, you could make a move to a virtualized environment to ease the process of digital transformation within your organization. Rather than being overwhelmed by the thought of needing to dump all of your legacy hardware outright to shift to more modern platforms. Smaller firms are in a particularly good position to take advantage of this.
All of these reasons make server virtualization appealing, whatever approach you ultimately choose to take. When you are running an e-commerce site or operating bricks and mortar business, it is easy to see why it is so widely used in the modern market, even when cloud solutions and other competing options are also vying for the attention of organizations. Hope this article helps you to get a concept of what server virtualization is.