What Is Virtualization? Understanding the Benefits of Server Virtualization

Virtualization has gotten popular lately, but, as with other tech buzzwords, it’s not always clear if the term “virtualization” is widely understood. At CPURX, we know how frustrating it can be to have conversations about technology when obscure terms are thrown about without being defined and explained. We hope our ongoing Tech Talk articles can help answer some of your questions, and this week, we intend to clear up any confusion around “virtualization”, especially as it relates to small business.

Defining Server Virtualization

While “virtualization” can refer to virtualizing various types of hardware, today we are going to discuss “server virtualization.” Server virtualization technology allows individual computers to run multiple operating systems at once. This means that a single physical computer can run multiple virtual instances, and each virtual instance can be managed as if it was an individual computer.

The end result of using virtualization technology is that racks of physical servers can often be consolidated down to a single server rack. Such consolidations may involve some initial setup costs, but over time pay off by reducing both down time and maintenance costs. For this reason, many large enterprises and data centers have already either virtualized their servers, or have plans to virtualize.

A Brief History of Server Virtualization

Originally, data centers were centralized and used large shared servers. These centralized servers were expensive; in addition, securing and maintaining such systems could be tricky, since patches and updates might have unintended system wide consequences.

Data centers therefore began replacing centralized servers with decentralized server setups, where applications resided on their own physical machines. While decentralization improved maintenance and security, it increased power consumption and often left resources being underutilized. To resolve these issues, data centers began using virtualization technologies that could run multiple operating systems on individual physical machines. This let data centers preserve the security and maintenance gains of decentralization, while utilizing server resources more efficiently and greatly reducing both energy consumption and the physical space being utilized by servers.

How Server Virtualization Can Help Small Business

There are many scenarios where virtualization makes sense for small business. If your business is running its own dedicated server, moving to a virtualized solution can have many benefits. Not only can you reduce costs, but since virtualization makes it easy to clone instances, you can use the built-in redundancy to create high-availability configurations. In other words, virtualization lets you ensure that your business critical applications are always there when you need them.

At CPURX, we have been using virtualized technologies both for ourselves and for our clients, and we are excited by the proven benefits they can provide. Remember that whatever your needs, CPURX team members are ready to provide expert advice and build the technical infrastructure you need to grow your business. Contact us today and let us answer any questions you might have about virtualization and other in demand technologies.

About Matt Bravo

mmMatthew "Matt" Bravo is highly skilled, highly accredited solutions architect who has been designing and building information systems from a very young age. Matt is both a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). In addition to his Network+ certification, Matt oversees our comprehensive suite of business automation, network security and enterprise VoIP solutions using advanced scripting, virtualization and high-availability clustering technologies.