Doing more with less – the power of virtualisation

As your business grows, so too does your need for increased computer processing power. Certain line-of-business applications need to be installed on a central server to enable multi-user access, for instance.

In the past IT vendors would recommend that you purchase new servers to complement your existing infrastructure, and to ensure that you have sufficient processing power to serve data quickly and efficiently. However for the budget-conscious business, investing in increasing amounts of computer hardware may not be the best way to spend corporate cash, particularly when trying to reduce levels of capital expenditure.

Fortunately advances in server technology may help to slow IT hardware spend, perhaps even helping to reduce the existing IT infrastructure and saving cash without affecting service quality.

What is server virtualisation?
Typically we think of a server as a complete unit, hardware and software working together as an inseparable combination. However virtualisation ‘abstracts’ the operating system and software from the machine, creating a package (known as an ‘instance’) that can be installed and run on physical hardware. The most valuable aspect of this technique is that several of these packages can then be installed on the same server machine, operating independently but sharing the same hardware.

Each virtual server behaves exactly like a physical machine, so that users can still access software and resources – they won’t even notice any change in the service. But behind the scenes your servers are making better use of hardware, maximising resource usage where there would have been wasted RAM, processing power and storage under the traditional server model.

Costs and recovery benefits
And if you need another server for a new application, instead of buying a new machine, you simply create a new virtual server instance to do the job. You may even be able to virtualise your existing servers, consolidating several machines into one, helping to cut running costs.

Virtual servers also offer significant benefits in terms of disaster recovery. Each virtual server instance can be backed up and restored almost anywhere – all of your data, settings and resources are bundled into the instance. In the event of a local disaster, you can restore all of your servers, applications and data almost anywhere, allowing you to get back up and running within a matter of minutes.

Best of all, virtual server technology is both proven to be consistent and secure, whilst also offering cost-effective resources, allowing businesses of any size to take advantage of these benefits.