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Top 10 Benefits of Server Virtualization

My list of the best that server virtualization has to offer over physical servers.

Server virtualization has been a real "game changer" for the datacenter and those who administer and manage it. It has provided us with efficiency at a time when we so desperately need it. Unfortunately, there are so few companies that are 100 percent virtualized. For those companies that have virtualized a large amount of their servers, are they really taking advantage of all the benefits virtualization offers?

Whether you are new to virtualization or you use it every day, make sure that you know the real benefits of virtualization and don't get stalled out before all of those benefits are realized (for the sake of you and your company). Every benefit offers you the opportunity to make your life and the company more efficient and while reducing the cost of computing.

If we had to list them, what are the top 10 benefits of server virtualization? Here's my list:

1. Server consolidation
By collapsing physical servers into virtual servers and reducing the number of physical servers, your company will reap a tremendous savings in power and cooling costs. Additionally, you'll be able to reduce the datacenter footprint which can include diesel generator costs, UPS costs, network switch costs, rack space and floor space.

2. Stop server sprawl
Before server virtualization, admins were forced to over-provision servers to ensure that they would meet user demand. With server virtualization, there is no more over-provisioning and you'll be able to perfectly size every virtual machine.

3. Do more with less
With a lagging economy, IT departments and admins are forced to do more with less. Server virtualization makes admins more efficient and agile, allowing us to do more with less and look like the heroes of the IT department.

4. Cost savings
Not only will your company save on the physical server hardware, power and cooling of the servers that were consolidated, you'll also save on the time it used to take to administer physical servers. End users will be more productive thanks to less downtime and much more.

5. Moving running virtual machines
Truly one of the more powerful features of server virtualization is the ability to move a running virtual machine from one host to another with no downtime. VMware's vMotion can do this for you and that feature makes other features like distributed resource scheduler (DRS) and distributed power management (DPM) possible.

6. Increased uptime
Features like vMotion, storage vMotion (svMotion), DRS, and VMware high availability (VMHA) all result in virtualized servers being up and running so much more than those same servers that were running directly on physical hardware.

7. Image-based backup and restore
By being able to back up and restore entire virtual machines, you can much more quickly back up the VMs and put them back, if needed. Additionally, image-level backups make disaster recovery so much easier. Even more, only changed blocks need to be backed up and backups can be done in the middle of the day thanks to snapshot technology.

8. Virtual labs
By being able to create a virtual lab (a group of VMs on a private virtual network), you can test vSphere, Exchange, Active Directory and much more. Previously, this would have been cost prohibitive with physical servers.

9. Simplified disaster recovery
Thanks to virtual machines being hardware-independent (not tied to a particular physical server) you can restore image-based backups on any hardware that is capable of running vSphere. Plus, software features like site recovery manager (SRM) automate the testing and failover when a disaster strikes.

10. Allow us to move to the cloud
By virtualizing our servers and making them portable, we are now ready to move them to a cloud hosting company when that technology matures and when we feel comfortable with it.

Keep these benefits handy and use these benefits to give your project a jumpstart! Also note that there are many kinds of virtualization such as application, desktop, I/O, storage and more.

Free Virtualization Webinar by David Davis
On June 23, I'll be offering a free webinar, sponsored by VMware, where I'll go into more detail on these benefits and more, including:

  • What virtualization offers beyond just consolidation
  • How to determine if virtualization is right for your company
  • How to get started testing virtualization
  • What you need to know to build a virtualization lab
  • The unique benefits of VMware's virtualization solutions

Sign up for the free webinar here. I'll have a great Q&A session where I'll answer any technical virtualization questions you might have!

About the Author

David Davis is a well-known virtualization and cloud computing expert, author, speaker, and analyst. David’s library of popular video training courses can be found at Pluralsight.com. To contact David about his speaking schedule and his latest project, go to VirtualizationSoftware.com.

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