Virtualization can play a Pivotal Role in Expansion of Businesses

Janice A. Mahlmann, Founder and CIO/CEO, August eTech
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Janice A. Mahlmann, Founder and CIO/CEO, August eTech

Virtualization. Why? 

First off what is Virtualization? As noted by Wikipedia “Hardware virtualization or platform virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Software executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlying hardware resources. For example, a computer that is running Microsoft Windows may host a virtual machine that looks like a computer with the Ubuntu Linux operating system; Ubuntu-based software can be run on the virtual machine.

"With virtualization admins now have a much faster infrastructure for passing data and communications since all servers OS reside on one piece of hardware instead of many across the network. "

In hardware virtualization, the host machine is the actual machine on which the virtualization takes place, and the guest machine is the virtual machine. The words host and guest are used to distinguish the software that runs on the physical machine from the software that runs on the virtual machine. The software or firmware that creates a virtual machine on the host hardware is called a hypervisor or Virtual Machine Manager.”. So what does that mean for your business? 

There are many benefits to Virtualization. 

• Virtualization can greatly help a business by cutting down on hardware costs. All businesses are cost conscious and server virtualization can give a business small or large the opportunity to run their own software and security in-house instead of out sourcing everything to the “cloud”. The cloud is wonderful when needed; however, not all businesses need the cloud. Have you heard the statement “if you own your equipment, you own your data”? The cloud also has long term costs. You have to keep paying for the cloud. With server visualization you can purchase the hardware and OS (Operating System) and pay it off right away. This is optimal for many companies who do not want to be paying for cloud services for months and years to come.

• Virtualization is great for system admins. With virtualization admins will have a much faster infrastructure for passing data and communications since all servers OS reside on one piece of hardware instead of many across the network. You can also move servers from one virtual server to another or to another piece of hardware since the virtualized OS basically a data file making it easy to move around and upgrade the server OS. Admins can also manage the resources on the fly. A server does not have enough drive space, just expand it! The server with your accounting software on it is using up to much memory, just add more memory! This can all be done at a click of a mouse allowing a company to grow and expand easily.  

• Old software applications can still be used! Do you or your client have an old software application that they don’t want to part with, but it can only run on an out dated OS? With virtualization you can image that old server no matter what OS it is and put in in a virtual environment. Now it’s running off of brand new hardware and you can secure the old OS to allow it to still run the application, but not cause security issues on your network. 

So are you ready to make the next step to virtualization? How do you start? Start with a plan. Make sure you have a network diagram of all your current and even potential future applications, software, hardware, IT needs in general. For example are you thinking about having an on-site Exchange Server if so you need to plan for that and if you end up not setting up an on-site Exchange Server; you will just have more resources for your other virtualized OS. 

List: 

• AD 1 
• AD 2 
• Exchange Server 
• Accounting Software 
• File Server 
• Terminal Server 
• Others 

Then you decide on your OS. Windows Server 2012 Data Center which allows for unlimited VM’s, Server 2012 R2 Standard which allows for 2 VM’s or maybe VM Ware vCloud Suite Enterprise. Whatever your choice you need to make sure you know how many virtual server you need.  

After the OS. You need to start thinking about hardware. Based on the number of virtual servers you will be spinning up and the applications on those servers you will decide on the following: 

CPU and RAM (Memory) 

Storage (Hard Drive) Size and type. Sata, SSD,  

Nic cards. Two? 1GB? 10GB?  

So what are the requirements of your virtual servers? The OS needs so much CPU, HD and through put. So does each software/application going on to your servers. And finally remember to take into account what the servers are being used for. Website? Will it be connected to the internet? Will a marketing department be using the server, therefore, having to transfer a large amount of images around the network?Once all is planned out you can spin up your new hardware and servers. The world of virtualization is all yours. Just remember backup, backup and backup! 

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