Boxes, boxes and more boxes. If you’re like most organizations, you’ve probably seen an ever increasing number of server boxes proliferating your server room. There are a number of reasons for this.
• More mission critical software applications. As more and more software applications become “mission-critical” the need for more servers to provide redundancy increases. And as organizations insist on 100% uptime the only alternative is to implement various fault tolerant technologies that require more servers.
• Adding applications means adding servers. As an organization grows they need to maximize the investments they’ve made in IT infrastructure by implementing software solutions that help improve the productivity of their work force. Microsoft recommends that their critical applications like Exchange, SQL and Dynamics run on separate and dedicated servers.
• Application Isolation. Organizations will invariably run into technical trouble when they attempt to run multiple software applications on a single physical host server. The issues that can come up include application instability, software incompatibilities and the problem where one patch or software fix for one application will cause a different application on the same physical server to become unstable.
• Multi-Platform Environments. Many organizations have adopted a multi-platform IT infrastructure strategy where in addition to Windows, they leverage open-source, Linux based applications. These can’t be hosted in a Windows environment. The result? More boxes.
Organizations that are experiencing out-of-control server growth face a number of significant problems including:
• More servers cost more money. A new server requires a significant capital investment. In addition to the cost of the server itself, the IT infrastructure can be affected too. Additional power and cooling is needed.
• Server Start-Up Costs. In addition to the cost of the server hardware, power and cooling, it also costs money to actually install, configure and test the server to operate in a production environment.
• Management Cost. Every time an organization adds a server it also adds significant cost for managing the device. And as a result, there’s an increase in the daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance tasks that must be completed to keep the system healthy.
• No Standard Server Platform. Because server hardware is being added over time, there’s no practical way to standardize on a server model. As a result, most organizations end up with an assortment of equipment. This diverse infrastructure often time prevents the use of server replication systems. This means that most of the servers end up being installed and configured from scratch which of course takes longer and costs a lot more.
• Server Upgrades are Difficult. When an organization’s existing server hardware reaches its end-of-life, the process of upgrading becomes time consuming, expensive and risky. The operating systems usually can’t be moved straight to the new server hardware which means the operating system environments have to be recreated. Usually this method leads to instability issues and introduces potential end user problems for systems that we once stable. The difficulty of the upgrade process often times leads organizations to forgo the upgrade processes until a crisis happens. Crisis management is not a desirable condition.
Server virtualization is a terrific new way to help organizations reduce the growth of server boxes. It’s a technology that lets multiple “virtual” servers operate on a single physical server. So instead of having to have a separate physical server for each application, a single physical server can run multiple “virtual” servers and share resources. Virtualization saves hardware costs as well as the additional costs for managing additional servers. By using virtualization an organization can very easily isolate applications so they don’t conflict with each other despite the fact that they’re running on the same physical device. And virtualization provides tremendous benefits in terms of redundancy, clustering and disaster recovery.
Follow this link to read more about Microsoft’s virtualization technology, some of the advantages that virtual servers can mean for your business as well as how Decision Consultants can help you implementing virtualization solutions to improve stability, reliability as well as lowering your costs.