The term virtualization might seem like a brand new and cutting-edge technology. But actually, virtualization has been around for more than a decade now. Though many organizations still do not realize the benefits it can offer, those who have already adopted the technology have grown to feel that it would be nearly impossible to work without it. For those in IT, server virtualization has been a game-changing technology. It provides efficiencies and capabilities that simply are not possible when the organization’s IT is tied to working only with physical servers. Whether virtualization is a new term for you, or something you’ve been considering for some time, it is important to understand the benefits—then you can decide if it is right for your firm.

Increased Uptime

Keeping your servers up and running is a big priority for almost any business. Most virtualization platforms allow many different ways to keep servers running smoothly and recover quickly after an outage. Look for features like live migration, storage migration, fault tolerance, high availability, and distributed resource scheduling. These show how the particular platform will keep you operating as planned on a day-to-day basis and during an outage. In addition to these benefits, virtualization makes it easier to move processes and VMs between different pieces of physical hardware in case of a hardware failure.

Enhance Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Virtualization allows your organization to utilize three important components to help you build a disaster recovery solution. Since you are no longer dependent on a particular hardware vendor or server model, you will not have to keep identical hardware on hand. This cuts back on costs and makes the process easier. All your data is duplicated in the virtual server, so the chance of losing integral data is nearly nil. Plus, virtualization means that “snapshots” are taken of your servers and data—making it possible to roll back in case of a major crisis. I go into greater detail in regards to DR in our blog post titled: The Evolution of Disaster Recovery Planning.

More Bang for Your Buck

Virtualization is so beneficial to an organization than most think that it would be very expensive to implement. In fact, this is far from the truth. For most organizations, implementing virtualization is a great way to cut back on IT costs. You can host multiple VMs on one single physical server, which saves cost on hardware. How? In the old world, companies would have 1 physical server ‘box’ for each application or process that needed hosting (1 server for email, 1 server for file sharing etc.). Now, more than one workload (up to 100) can be placed on a single piece of hardware.

The savings go beyond purchase cost too. When you cut back on hardware use, there is less energy consumed and the cost to maintain the equipment goes down as well.

A Step Towards the Cloud

Virtualization is often the first step a firm takes towards migrating to the cloud. This means that the effort you put into moving towards virtual servers will pay off if and when you decide to utilize the cloud for your daily workload. The principles that make it easier to move a virtual machine from one server to another also apply when moving physical hardware to cloud.

When Not to Virtualize

Although the benefits are numerous, there are a very few cases when virtualization isn’t possible. Some applications have licensing restrictions in place that don’t allow them to run within virtual machines. Although this type of licensing is slowly becoming obsolete, it is important to research and make sure that it will be okay for you to deploy your applications on virtual servers—before you make the switch.

Now that you understand the benefits better, you may be eager to learn more about virtualization and find out if it is something that can work for you. For most organizations, virtualization is an excellent way to accomplish more while spending less time, money and effort on keeping both hardware and software up to date and running as it should. Spend some time researching how it can affect your business in particular and consider utilizing this “not-so-new” cutting-edge technology.

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