When people talk about virtualisation, they’re usually referring to server virtualisation, which essentially means sharing computing resources like slices of cake. Each virtual (as opposed to physical) machine acts as a separate physical machine, running independently of the others, which is useful for businesses who need to reliably run multiple, varied applications at once. This extends to complete operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) which is extremely useful for a whole host of reasons.
Types of Virtualisation
- Network virtualisation – allows you to control the bandwidth allocated to different areas of your network. Should, say, you’re your marketing department need more bandwidth to send an e-mail campaign, you can arrange and limit this so it minimises the effect on other users.
- Application virtualisation – separates applications from the hardware and the operating system, putting them in a container that can be modified without disrupting other systems, reducing downtime for maintenance or alterations.
- Desktop virtualisation – enables a one centrally located server to manage each user’s desktops remotely. This gives users a full client experience, but let’s IT staff provision, manage and upgrade them more easily and with less interference to other users.
Why Should You Care?
- Save money. Many IT companies have advised clients to run separate servers for separate applications. With virtual servers, you can really get the most value for money possible by running one server which manages e-mail, accounts, SalesForce, user information, SQL and many more.
- Save energy. Businesses spend a lot of money powering unused server capacity. Virtualisation reduces the number of physical servers, reducing the energy required to power and cool them.
- Save time. With fewer servers, you save money on labour costs as less time is required for manual tasks required for server maintenance. Furthermore, it simplifies tasks such as backup, archiving and recovery. It’s also much faster to deploy a virtual machine than it is to deploy a new physical server.
- Reduce desktop management headaches. Managing, securing and upgrading desktops and notebooks can be a hassle. With virtualisation, it’s taken out of your hands and passed on to the administrator (your IT department or outsourced IT supplier). Got a problem? Notify them and they can manage it all remotely.