Imagine if you had a stack of dirty dishes to clean, and a top of the range dishwasher to clean them in; you wouldn’t put one plate in at a time, switch on a full cycle and wait until it was finished to put the next one in. You would load the machine, fitting as much in as it can safely take, and turn the dial to the economy cycle. That way, you have all the dishes cleaned as quickly and efficiently as possible.
With more and more businesses becoming increasingly cost-aware, IT is rapidly following suit. Virtualisation technology cuts down on costs incurred purchasing, running and maintaining the machines needed for each of the functions your IT system needs to provide.
Simply put, virtualisation means that a single physical machine can be split to simultaneously operate several ‘virtual’ machines, or servers. (Rather than having one machine to wash one dish at a time, you have one machine that can clean them all at the same time). Each of these servers operates independently of the others. This provides a greater utilisation of existing hardware as it means physical machines are performing closer to their capacity, and it also brings greater flexibility between the servers too as none of them are reliant on another one to continue working. This is possible because each ‘virtual’ server has its own ‘virtual’ hardware installed, thereby also creating an ideal platform to format a particular operating system for whatever the particular requirements of the business in question may be.
As the number of necessary physical servers is reduced, there are several benefits immediately apparent:
- energy costs are reduced
- necessary hardware for your IT system is cut down upon
- space requirements for the machinery required is dramatically reduced
- should something go wrong with the technology, system downtime is also reduced as each server can continue running even if there is an issue with another one