HiGrade | Server Virtualization
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Server Virtualization

One of the most popular buzzwords in technology at the moment is server virtualization and as its main benefits combine cost reduction and simplification, the focus is moving more and more towards smaller businesses.

Server virtualization is really all about gaining more from what you have. It allows you to make one server act as five, ten or even twenty virtual servers. The need to do so has become more apparent as processors have increased in power and memory capacity, meaning they are often underutilized, and have excess capacity.

Historically, every time you have had a new application, you’d add a new server. You’d have one server acting as a mail server, another as a central repository for office files, another for the customer database and so on. Now, sophisticated software from the likes of Microsoft and VMware, enables a single server to be sub-divided to run multiple instances of operating systems and application. This shared piece of hardware is known as the host and its multiple virtual servers are known as virtual machines or VMs.

A good analogy is the hard drive on a PC. Although there is only one actual drive, it can be split into several volumes, which are really virtual hard drives.

By using VMs, you can improve productivity and efficiency. A typical server may use 10-20 percent of its computing power and 20-30 percent of memory at any given time, the rest ends up being wasted. This figure can increase to 65-75 percent when using a VM system.

The Benefits

The major benefit from server virtualization for smaller businesses is not having to buy more servers. By consolidating many physical servers onto one, they can dispense with several of their existing machines and load everything onto one server — or move from 20 physical servers down to a few. This means less time spent on maintenance and less money spent on powering multiple servers.

 

Is it right for you?

Whilst there are considerable opportunities, server virtualization is not for everybody. If yours is a small business with only a couple of servers, you have no need to bother with virtualization. The benefits are likely to be insufficient to outweigh the costs of buying new hardware paying for the implementation skills.

The optimum size of business seems to be settling at around the five-to-seven server level, particularly where the business has low utilization rates on its application servers. Any larger than seven makes an organisation almost guaranteed to gain productivity and efficiency benefits from implementing the technology.

Implementation

On the basis that your business appears to be able to benefit from server virtualization, you need some specialist consultative support to make sure you achieve your business goals. At HiGrade we have a team of experienced engineers who will not only spend time listening to what you are trying to achieve, but also provide independent technical expertise to specify the best solution to meet your needs.

Our process is broken down into five specific steps:

  1. Initial consultation to establish your business objectives
  2. Analysis of your existing IT systems including all applications servers and their levels of utilization.
  3. Preparation of specific recommendations to outline where you can benefit most from server virtualization
  4. Detailed proposal on hardware and engineer resources, pricing and timeframe for implementation of the recommendations
  5. Supply, installation and maintenance of your system, incorporating proactive, preventative maintenance to ensure your system is running at optimum performance

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