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Server virtualization explained

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When it comes to servers for your business, virtualization saves money, energy and space. Rather than just having a physical server, virtualization uses software to allow a piece of hardware to run multiple storage channels at the same time.

Andy Hinxman, Managing Director of Keybridge IT said: “Server virtualization is when you combine the resources and roles of multiple servers onto one (or multiple) ‘virtual’ servers. The virtual server will often mask or disguise resources of the physical server, using software to divide the physical server into multiple virtual environments. These environments are virtual in that they can often be accessed anywhere, but remain secure.”

There are three types of server virtualization:

  • Full virtualization

This type of sever virtualisation is a hypervisor, a piece of computer software that creates and runs virtual machines, which allows multiple operating systems to run at the same time on a computer. Simultaneously, it monitors the physical server’s resources and keeps each virtual server independent of other virtual servers running on the physical machine.

  • Para-virtualization

Para-virtualization is a thin software layer, which coordinates access from multiple operating systems to underlying hardware. It doesn’t require large amounts of processing power to manage guest operating systems because guest servers are aware of each other when using the type of server virtualization.

  • Operating system (OS) virtualization

Compared to the other types of server virtualization, OS level virtualization doesn’t use hypervisor but instead, allows the user to perform all aspects of a fully virtualized hypervisor. Every server is independent of one another, and as guest servers must remain the same OS, there is a homogenous environment created.

Advantages for moving to server virtualization

One of the biggest advantages to server virtualization is how cost-effective it is. This type of server reduces the number of servers you need to run, and you don’t have to invest in hardware systems. It also saves you floor space, power usage and air conditioning costs for cooling.

For this reason, virtualization is also beneficial for the environment. If more businesses adopted server virtualization and go green, there will be less of a need for power plants, which would save the world’s energy sources.

Virtualization allows businesses to use a cloud hosting company, which means you don’t need your IT team to dedicate hours to monitoring and running your physical machines. Instead, they can spend their time more effectively on other tasks whilst a third party takes care of your virtual server.

Virtual machines also allow for a simplified and improved disaster recovery, as they depend on hardware rather than a physical server. They also make backing up and restoring whole virtual machines much quicker and can test for a disaster recovery failover so if your server is subject to a disaster it is more than prepared to take the appropriate measure and set up for a speedy recovery.

Server virtualization has many benefits, including reduced costs, high security protection and efficient use of energy, but deciding whether it’s right for your business lies with the type of data you intend to store on your server. Ultimately, weigh up the pros and cons for converting to a virtual server before jumping straight in and take into consideration what is best for you and your business.

 

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Tags: IT Transformation, Technology