There’s a lot of talk about this term virtualisation, but does anyone know what it means and how it works? Used the right way, virtualisation can actually be a powerful way to drive down costs and increase flexibility – and it’s certainly becoming a feasible option for growing businesses. At a glance, the benefits are attractive:

  • Saving costs by reducing the number of physical servers
  • Increasing reliability by keeping critical servers separated
  • Reducing downtime
  • Being environmentally friendlier

By reducing the number of physical servers for example, you automatically reduce your upfront capital expenditure and installation costs. Whether you’re a startup or have ageing servers, virtualisation can radically reduce your IT budget. Similarly, the running costs of virtual servers are lower, due to fewer physical parts to maintain and replace, and with less power consumption they are greener.

The nature of virtual servers also means they can adapt quickly to a business’s changing needs, and reduces downtime when upgrading hardware and software.

So how does virtualisation work?

A virtual server platform allows you to run multiple virtual servers on top of a single physical server. Virtualisation is rapidly being adopted by large organisations looking to reduce hardware costs and increase flexibility.

For reliability, it’s better for a business to run each of its central applications (such as Exchange or SQL) on its own server. But few applications use the power of a whole server – most servers rarely use even 10 per cent of their capacity. This represents a huge waste of capital, power and support costs. The answer is to get many ‘virtual’ servers to share one physical server.

This allows each server to share a large pool of computing power, so that each can call on large resources during peak loads, but sharing the cost of that capacity across all the servers. So you reduce costs as well as being kinder to the environment. With virtual servers we can also run up new servers at short notice and make disaster recovery planning less expensive.