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Business Intelligence

Virtualization: Is It Right For Your Business?

What Is Virtualization?

Virtualization is nothing new as today every business knows about it and it is increasingly being adopted now a days. There are numerous kinds of virtualization like desktop, server, data, storage levels and operating system. However, “virtualization” in general is referred to as server virtualization, which includes division of one physical server into several virtual servers, where each server runs its own OS (operating system). As different VMs (Virtual Machines) can run different operating systems and applications, you efficiently use existing hardware and software resources.

Does Virtualization Benefit Every IT Environment?

When an organization thinks of virtualization of its IT environment, its IT staff should take into consideration various possible solutions. As per the requirements, the range of solutions may extend from “bare-metal” approach of virtualization to an extremely virtualized IT environment. Trade-offs do exist: virtualization can lead to high expenses and complexity if not appropriately designed and correctly implemented. That is the reason business cases must be clearly pre-defined before making this major transformation. You must consider and evaluate trade-offs properly. There are cases, where none of the virtualization was the best choice.

Does Virtualization Really Make Sense to Your Business?

Finding the answer to this question is not difficult. Implementing virtualization in your organization only makes sense when the server utilization rate per application is low. The need for virtualization comes into existence when a small business working with two servers expands itself with complex network infrastructure comprising 5 to 7 servers or more. If you feel that your organization can benefit a lot from virtualization, then first consider these aspects:

• How in your company do most of the users work? Those users who are in need of full desktop experiences are perfect candidates to reap benefits of virtualization.

• Is your server capacity sufficient?

• Is the network infrastructure of your company efficient enough for handling user bandwidth needs and requirements?

• Do you plan to make a large-scale replacement of desktops, in near future? If your answer is affirmative, virtualization can help you in delaying the costs related with the replacement of a huge number of desktops at once. In addition to virtualization, you can go for replacing aging desktops that have thin clients. This further minimizes your capital expenditures as well as maintenance costs.

• Is your storage capacity sufficient? You should estimate at least 30 to 40 GB storage capacity per user that can vary, of course, depending on the job requirements.

How Virtualization Benefits Your Business?

When you use virtual infrastructure in your organization, the way your IT department delivers services to your business completely transforms into more effective one. The benefits are greater when you manage virtualization with the correct combination of processes, people, knowledge and tools. Some of the benefits of virtualization include:

Enhanced Efficiency:

Virtualization helps you in reducing, reusing, and retiring your existing platforms of server. It completely simplifies the IT structure in physical terms, hence enabling central management, security and up gradation computers. Since less time is consumed in completing the routine administrative work, your IT staff becomes more responsive to the business needs.

In addition, virtual environments are perfect for testing latest operating systems, applications, configurations and server packs before installing them for production. Virtualization, if done appropriately, ensures your business’ smooth continuity by eliminating the risks of data losses and IT outages. Not only this, but the disaster recovery and back up is also faster and much simpler.

Reduced Cost:

It has been observed that organizations usually run only one application on each server because of the fear that an application crash can bring down the other application on that same machine. Consequently, most of the times, servers in the organization are under-utilized, that is they are operating at only 10 to 15 percent of the total capacity.

Through virtualization, one server can be turned from single-purpose server into multipurpose server. It can even turn the multiple servers into a computing pool that is flexible and adapt to varying workloads. Virtualization allows you to use each server at its maximum potential, hence resulting in less physical servers and low maintenance time and cost.

Redundancy/Security:

In case of failures, virtualization provides you a more robust IT infrastructure. Since you can represent a virtual server by a file (that includes its applications, operating systems and data), you can easily store the server copies themselves for any disaster recovery. Your company’s whole virtualized IT environment can be archived remotely and the end users can access the backup virtual server within little downtime, in case of an emergency. However, keep in mind that a virtual environment is as vulnerable to the unauthorized access as the non-virtual environment. Therefore, you must take appropriate measures for its protection.

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    Sadaf Ajmal