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January 7, 2008

Benefits of Server Virtualization



As both software and hardware technology advances, and the dependence on technology as a tool becomes more and more apparent, companies have began facing new challenges. As more servers are needed, several things happen. First, there is the cost of the hardware, then you need space to store the hardware. You need to make sure that area stays cool and dry, you need a proper fire suppressant system (spraying water on a server is a bad idea). You need to pay for the electricity for all those servers, and you need to repair parts on those servers when they go bad. Over time these costs can become huge. How does virtualization help?

Benefits:

  • Less hardware to purchase. If you can run 3 servers on a single piece of server hardware, then you can save money.
  • Less hardware means less heat, which saves you money on cooling.
  • Fewer servers means lower electricity costs.
  • Less hardware to maintain
  • Less space taken up by servers
Disadvantages:
  • Concentrated points of failure. Previously, when 1 piece of hardware broke, you lost one server. Now several are down.
  • Extra software to purchase and configure (you need to buy VM software)
  • if in a really high traffic environment, bandwidth limitations on the NIC could become a problem, although this is highly unlikely and can be resolved by adding a second NIC and load balancing.
  • Not all software can run in a virtual environment. (this is rapidly changing)

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