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We’ve talked throughout this series about what benefits virtualization can bring you on a high level, but it likely sounds too complicated if you’re running a startup or a company that’s just trying to get its feet wet in a virtualized environment. Businesses need to be fast and flexible, and virtualization is the perfect companion for them, since it allows them to build and react to change fast.
Instead of spending hours painstakingly configuring environments for testing, just do it once and create a template. To test, it’s easy to deploy from that template over and over, allowing faster and more dynamic development and testing times. Even better, it’s easy for almost any staff member to do.
On the note of application testing, you don’t want to be testing new, unpredictable code in your production environment. Virtualization allow you to separate out networks onto different virtual switches with a few clicks and make sure that the production code never touches anything in the test network. The best part? You can do this over and over and over again.
Once you’ve built a virtualization environment, and you’re ready to grow and include a few hosts in a cluster, you’ve got a whole brave new world at your fingertips. It enables you to plan for failure, and if a host fails, it’s not the end of the world. Your virtual machine is just migrated onto another, perfectly functional host. The same goes for storage – if a LUN fills up or becomes slow, you can move it elsewhere without needing to take it down. The entire process can be automated too, so you don’t even have to think about it.
These might be the best invention since sliced bread. Instead of performing Windows Updates on your infrastructure and worrying about what happens if it all goes wrong, you can take a snapshot before the work. Snapshots allow you to return to a state in time within minutes if something goes wrong. Granted, Windows itself has had these types of snapshops, called Restore Points, for some time. But when you’re talking about an entire company’s provision of machines, snapshots are a more stable way to move.
Reducing Capital Expenditure
Instead of buying ten servers to do ten tasks and having them idling at 5% utilization most of the time, companies are able to purchase a two or three pieces of hardware and utilize them at 80%, saving on both hardware costs and other data center fees, such as electricity and physical space. The lower cost of entry makes it easier for startups and small businesses to control their own environments, and they’re already able to scale in future.
As we’ve moved through this series we’ve covered many of the basics of virtualization’s advantages. But stick around as we’ll be soon cover changing business models, the need for mobile performance and an in-depth look at the differences between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.