Why Virtualize?

The other day, I was going through some other forums I don’t usually read and I came across an interesting thread title, “Is virtualization going the way of the Dinosaur?”  After reading through some of the responses and the numerous amount of posts by the thread starter, I started to wonder.

How would I explain virtualization to someone? 
Think of it this way. A client has ask you to scope and install 5 servers for their new business. The new servers will need to be able to host a Domain Controller, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Web Server and Root CA.


Straight away virtualization comes to mind.  Why? Installing 5 physical servers is a huge task, not only the moving, placing in a rack, and the shear amount of cables to plug in, but running 5 servers is also going to increase the energy footprint. For example, the Dell R720 server has redundant 725w power supplies, that’s 1450w per server. Now, times that by each server, that’s a whopping 7250w or 7.25kw
You can see immediately that the power bill is going to sky rocket. Going virtual would allow you to decrease the amount of servers down to essentially 1, however, 2 would be recommended to spread the load, and 3 would be even better for High Availability.  3 Servers doing the job of 5 would effectively be only 4.3kw,  saving the company money.

The time it takes to move 5 servers into a rack, plug in and build each server is time consuming and costly, what if you only had to plug in 3 servers, thus allowing you to start installing the software long before you had a chance with the extra 2 servers.

Convenience. Once you have ESXi installed on your 3 servers, you are set to configure your vSwitch’s and then your storage. Once configure, you can start building your virtual machines (In this case, the 5 servers).  Once you have installed and set up your servers, you are set ready to go.

“Oh no..! We forgot that we need to let our partner company in to access one of our web apps… which means we now need another server and we haven’t got the budget for it!”
Never fear, everything is under control and this is where virtualization becomes really worth while. Your administrator only needs to log onto vSphere and right click on a host, selecting New Virtual Machine and in approximately 2 minutes, a server is in the process of being built. In less than 2 hours, you can have your sixth server up and running and your partner company logging into your web app.

There are many different designs for how to set up your virtual infrastructure, this can be storage, i.e. Physical SANs, or vSAN on the hosts. Or Switches if you use iSCSI for your SANs.  
This adds to the footprint, but also adds flexibility to what you can achieve with your infrastructure.

Key Point

  • Reduces the energy footprint
  • Minimises set up/installation time
  • Easy to manage
  • Flexible and easy to expand infrastructure i.e. additional servers 

Please leave any comments or recommendations.

Thank you. 

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