Jim Holland, Axiz Product Manager: HP ESG, says IT systems have become increasingly larger and more complex, making it more difficult to build an optimal IT infrastructure in today's rapidly-changing business environment.
Server virtualisation represents a base technology for addressing this problem. It enables the flexible construction of virtual servers with almost no hardware limitations, and consequently reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
He explains that virtualisation is a technology which analyses the usage of a particular server and creates “virtual” servers within that server. These virtual servers run specific applications and because of the joint use of the hardware are aimed at optimally utilising the high-performance servers. The thinking behind this technology is to increase the return on investment (ROI) in the server space and to reduce management and administration time and costs here.
“At one level there is similarity between server consolidation and server virtualisation, but there are also fundamental differences between the two approaches. Consolidation is generally most effective with homogeneous workloads.
"The ideal consolidation approach is to host multiple workloads within the scope of a single operating system, with some form of workload management tool providing the necessary management of resources. In this case, consolidation lowers operational costs by reducing the number of operating environments that administrators have to manage. It also has the advantage of eliminating excess software, and thus reducing licensing costs and the administrator time required to maintain that software.”
Server virtualisation involves decoupling a workload and its data from the functional details of the physical platform on which it is hosted. This increases the flexibility with which the workloads can be matched with physical resources, enabling administrators to develop business-driven policies for delivering resources that are appropriate given specific time, cost, and service level requirements. Virtualisation therefore promises the ability for IT operations to be performed with far better economies of scale, allowing infrastructures to be managed efficiently even as they undergo high rates of growth, while maximising the utilisation of existing resources.
“Virtualisation systems have matured greatly in recent years. The real innovation however is not in the technology but in how you think about the way you use servers. Rather than being a necessary burden, virtualisation enables the server to become a valuable strategic tool in enhancing the agility and competitiveness of the business,” Holland concludes.