Driving into work today, I heard an old classic, "Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai. As I was belting out the lyrics (of course I was alone in the car), the repeated use of the word 'virtual' got me thinking about our own virtualization services. In truth, without proper virtualization in a network, it can lead to insanity.
Virtualization is simply a way to emulate computer hardware in software, allowing one to create a virtual data center on a single computer. The servers, storage, switches and even firewall that you use in your business can be virtualized on a high performance computer. For most people, it’s easiest to think of virtualization as a way to run multiple servers on a single physical server.
Done properly, virtualization allows you to cut down on the physical space needed, and number of servers needed to support your environment. This allows a significant reduction in costs of purchasing equipment, as well as power and cooling. Lastly virtualization allows you to quickly make changes to your server environment, reducing to hours what used to take weeks to get done.
For our clients, almost all servers have been virtualized to enable them to reap these benefits. The key time to make the switch to a virtualized infrastructure is when you are due to replace your aging servers. Beyond understanding the concept of virtualization, you really don’t need to worry about it. When properly virtualized, your servers continue to run and your network continues to operate.
If your support person is recommending replacing your old servers with new servers, and is not planning on virtualizing them, then tell your provider you are singing a new song and are now looking for someone else to stop the “Virtual Insanity”!