Server Virtualization: Potential Benefits To A Business Essays Example
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In today’s world, a lot of computers are only using about 15% of their capacity, which means that about 85% of a computer system’s resources are not being used to its maximum potential. This can be corrected through virtualization, which would help companies increase computer utilization in an efficient and effective manner. This would also result to cost effectiveness as companies will not have to spend too much money on servers. While the concept of virtualization has been around for more than 10 years already, still, a huge number of companies have not adopted the technology and still designed their computer infrastructure using separate physical servers. Virtualization is a technology concept that can increase utilization of computer systems and lead to performance gains.
What is Virtualization?
Virtualization is a technology concept that has gained popularity among those who want to efficiently run their computer systems and are looking for performance gains without having to spend too much on the infrastructure. The concept of virtualization involves the use of several virtual machines or VMs running on a single computer or machines. This means a single computer, which is considered as the host computer, can run multiple guest operating systems or OS, at a given time. The partitioning of one physical server into several virtual servers is what makes the concept efficient. Each of the virtual servers created can run on its own using the operating system and applications assigned to it, and thus, run as an individual server. This is made possible by the several operating systems installed on the physical server (“What is Server Virtualization?”).
In the past, multiple physical servers are used to run similar applications, which add to the IT hardware costs of a company. Doing so does not guarantee performance gains, but instead only contribute to expenses and the need for more physical space. However, by segmenting a computer system into multiple operating systems, applications can be run independently or in small groups. As a result, hardware resources can be efficiently sectioned for various applications that are resource-intensive. Another great concept about virtualization is that the different operating systems and the host operating system do not need to be the same. Thus, combinations of various operating systems such as Linux, UNIX, or BSD, among others, can run alongside a host Windows OS (“What is Server Virtualization?”).
Potential Benefits of Virtualization
Virtualization is the answer if net gain in computing power is necessary although it would require additional resources other than a single OS installation. For instance, increasing server usage from 15% to 80% would result to elimination of extra physical servers, which would equate to huge savings in terms of maintenance. Under these circumstances, a company thinking moving towards server virtualization is merely consolidating what would have been multiple physical servers into one machine acting as the virtual server (Vincenti, 2010).
As in the case of the midsized business, which has a data center consisting of 47 physical servers in five cabinets, the company can benefit a lot if it opts to use virtual servers in place of its current set up. Additionally, considering that a single server is good only for three years, replacing the servers at regular intervals is rampant because servers are purchased at different times, adding to the difficulty in maintaining the units and the costs associated with it. Because of these, moving from single-server approach to server virtualization will be advantageous for the company.
Consolidation of servers. By breaking up physical servers into virtual servers, the number of physical servers are reduced, which could help in the company saving on power and cooling costs. Other sources of cost reduction include decrease in data center footprint such as UPS costs, generator costs, network switch costs, and rack and floor space (Marshall, 2011).
Cost savings. Apart from savings the company will get from decreasing the number of physical servers, the company also saves time in maintaining and administering the physical servers. As a result, all employees become even more productive (Vincenti, 2010).
Increase uptime. Server virtualization platforms present various advanced features that facilitate continuity of business and increased uptime. These include “live migration, storage migration, fault tolerance, high availability, and distributed resource scheduling” (Marshall, 2011). These features give companies the flexibility of planning their computer system infrastructure that will aid in issues related to unplanned outages. As the technology reaches maturation, long-distance data migration becomes easier as virtual machines are moved from one data center to another.
Image-based backup and restore features. Using virtual machines, back up and restoration of the whole virtual machine can be completed quickly and accurately because of computer and data imaging. Considering that snapshots can be done with just a few clicks, redeploying is faster and downtime is cut (Wallen, 2013).
Do more with less. With server virtualization, IT administrators and departments are able to efficiently and effectively manage server or application problems because computer problems can be compartmentalized, thus, localizing a computer issue to where the problem is instead of touching the whole server. By isolating application issues, other users of the same server are not affected by computer problems experienced by other users (Marshall, 2011).
No vendor lock-in. Because virtual servers can accommodate different applications and operating systems, the company does not have to stick with one vendor alone for all the server requirements. Instead, it can avail of services of various vendor companies in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the computer system. Therefore, companies get a free hand in choosing the server equipment that will give them greater flexibility (Wallen, 2013).
Evaluating Vendor Proposals
When choosing the vendor for server virtualization, the company must consider the following prior to coming up with a final decision.
Vendor’s industry expertise and experience – pertains to the vendor’s market and industry experience in handling migration from traditional server set up to server virtualization set up, includes vendor’s company profile and background. Assigned weight: 2
Architecture – best presentation of plans for server virtualization project. Assigned weight: 3
Requirement satisfaction – understanding of requirements and technical concepts as defined in the project scope and compliance of products and services to project requirements. Assigned weight: 3
System administration – IT personnel and Support group to work with company. Assigned weight: 3
Capability – competence in completing scope of work, including timeline of deliverables and milestones. Assigned weight: 3
Expressed interest – pertains to the overall soundness of the whole proposal in terms of requirements satisfaction, delivery, additional IT services, and cost. Assigned weight: 2
Vendor strength and capability – vendor’s overall performance record, including responsiveness and feedback from previous customers. Assigned weight: 3
Reporting capabilities – assigned project managers who will act as liaison between company and vendor. Assigned weight: 3
Financial considerations – presentation of overall best pricing for products and services. Assigned weight: 2
Among the three vendors that presented a proposal for the migration from traditional server set up to server virtualization, namely, Virtually Complete (Vendor A), Computing Solutions (Vendor B), and Altura Consulting (Vendor C), the logical choice to select is Altura Consulting (Vendor C), which garnered a total of 20.5 points out of a possible score of 24 points. Virtually Complete and Computing Solutions received 15 and 2.9 points, respectively. This is because in terms of experience, Altura Consulting has a combined 32 years of experience in the IT industry and has a strong reputation and knowledge of the application of technological solutions. It was able to establish itself as a reputable and trustworthy company. Altura’s project proposal seems to be the most desirable considering that the company was able to establish a clear understanding of the project, including a competent project team who will implement the project. The project team’s expertise in the IT industry, especially the solid background and credentials (such as certifications) in relevant virtualization platforms, makes them even more an ideal group to work with.
The good thing about Altura’s project plan is that it presented alternative ways on how to implement the project which detailed the amount of time required completing the migration and the costs associated with the project. By presenting two options, it helps the company make an informed and wise decision in terms of identifying the best route to take in virtualization. Although the costs are relatively higher than vendors A and B, financial considerations are not much of an issue because the company would go for the vendor that satisfies their requirements.
The Vendor Assessment Matrix is not meant to be an absolute determinant of a vendor’s proposal. It is expected to be used as a guide that would emphasize the differences among vendors and initiate a productive discussion among the team members. Using the matrix, the members involved in coming up with the decision can easily eliminate the proposal that falls below their expectations.
Davis, D. (2011). Top 10 benefits of server virtualization. Virtualization Review. Retrieved from http://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2011/06/20/top-10-benefits-of-server-virtualization.aspx
Marshall, D. (2011). Top 10 benefits of server virtualization. InfoWorld. Retrieved from http://www.infoworld.com/article/2621446/server-virtualization/top-10-benefits-of-server-virtualization.html
Vincenti, B. (2010). 5 Benefits of switching to virtualization technology. GFI Blog. Retrieved from http://www.gfi.com/blog/5-benefits-switching-virtualization-technology/
Wallen, J. (2013). 10 Benefits of virtualization in the data center. TechRepublic. Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-benefits-of-virtualization-in-the-data-center/
“What is server virtualization.” (n.d.). NEC. Retrieved from http://www.nec.com/en/global/solutions/servervirtualization/merit.html
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