Virtualization allows you to use one piece of hardware to run multiple virtual servers. You can basically disect your server hardware (CPU, Memory, Disk Space) into mutiple independant units.
In this diagram you can see that the web/database server for the SugarCRM application (Guest A) shares the same hardware (Host) as the Microsoft Exchange Server (Guest B). Notice that you can run varying operating systems and applications on each virtual server even though the servers share the exact hardware.
Not all of your existing hardware may be a candidate for virtualization, but certainly any server that you may have purchased in the past 2 – 3 years from DELL, Microsoft, or IBM that is currently being underutilized (using only 20%-35% of the server’s current capability) makes a great candidate. Custom built servers are good candidates, but may contain hardware that may not perform as well in a virtualized environment or may require the use of unproven hardware drivers.
TIP: If you are in the market for a server, you should definitely consider virtualization and buy one piece of hardware for your new server implementation as well as replacing an old server that you have in-house.
What are the benefits to virtualization?
- Easier to update/upgrade the applications on the server
- You can test your upgrades/updates on a Virtual Copy of your server very easily
- Easily roll back a change on your server – easier than a Windows System Restore Point
- Easier to upgrade to new hardware
- You can move your virtual machine from one server to another pretty easily, just copy your server’s virtual image directory from one server hardware to the other
- Gets you started on the path to disaster recovery. Once you virtualize your servers, you can have a Virtual Server Host on standby and in the event of a disaster, restore your virtual servers there
- Its FREE! VMWare is Open Source software that you can use for free. You even get the tools to convert your current server into a virtual server