As a well-established solution, virtualization has helped businesses save a great deal of money over the years. With hardware spending constantly increasing1, virtualization will continue to be an essential tool in the IT landscape. Let’s explore the basics of virtualization and how it can help businesses increase server utilization and performance, reducing the costs of building additional servers.
Virtualization is the process of creating and running virtual computers called virtual machines (VMs) on physical hardware. VMs are created with a type of software called a hypervisor, which is inserted as an abstraction layer above the hardware. The hypervisor can allocate the processing, memory and storage of the underlying hardware, sharing these resources among the VMs. This enables users to run multiple operating systems concurrently and independently on a single physical server. As a result, server output and efficiency are greatly increased.
The process of virtualization is like converting a vacant building into a functional office building. By adding walls and doors, the building owner can partition the building into separate offices. The building owners can also add extra floors to the structure, increasing the building occupancy. Resources such as central air conditioning, electricity, internet, etc. can then be shared among these offices. With multiple offices and higher occupancy, the building can house more tenants, allowing the owner to monetize the building space more effectively. In this analogy, partitioning a building into multiple offices is like virtualizing a single physical server to run multiple systems. Both can be used to increase the usefulness/effectiveness of the building/server.
irtualization brings a number of benefits to businesses, especially those with high data center compute requirements and server sprawl. In non-virtualized environments, server computers are rarely running at full capacity. When idling, the system wastes resources that could be used for other applications. Creating virtual machines to run multiple systems ensures that server hardware is not being underutilized. With each physical server capable of handling more tasks simultaneously, fewer physical servers are needed. Businesses will then be able to consolidate servers which reduces both spending and server sprawl.
Virtualization also lowers costs for cooling and server racks. Less energy consumption means less heat generation, which allows businesses to save costs for cooling that would be needed to keep a higher number of servers up-and-running at all times. Virtualized servers have a lower footprint, making them more eco-friendly and in line with modern tech strategies, as many companies are trending towards green solutions as a means of maintaining sustainable growth2.
Aside from conserving resources, virtualization enables users to run testing environments that are isolated from each other. Virtual machines can serve as a sandbox mode to test new software, applications and general configurations. On standard server computers, access to hardware privileges is limited to the default operating system. This is to prevent third-party malicious applications from gaining access to the hardware and crashing the system. Because the VMs are independent from each other, corrupted VMs can be shut down without affecting the others. Going back to the office building analogy, isolating systems from each other is similar to building separate offices to prevent businesses in the same building from interfering with each other.
Virtualization environments are only as robust as the quality of the server hardware. To run an effective virtualization environment, the underlying hardware must be able to handle the extra workloads. Generally speaking, the more RAM your system has, the better it is for virtualization. Users need to make sure that they have sufficient RAM for each system’s workload as well as enough memory to run the hypervisors.
SSDs (solid-state drives) outclass HDDs (hard disk drives) in general, but they are especially conducive for virtualized environments. Because virtualization workloads can be very IOPS (inputs/outputs per second) intensive, storage solutions with higher read/write speeds and IOPS performance are needed. SSDs deliver significantly faster read/write speeds, with lower latency and higher IOPS than HDDs, making them a perfect fit in virtualized environments.
Whether you are running a small business or a large enterprise, Axiom offers a wealth of solutions for virtualized environments. Axiom’s diverse lineup of client and enterprise memory as well as SSD storage solutions are built to handle the hefty workloads of virtualization. For over 25 years, Axiom has helped businesses build out high-performing, highly reliable IT infrastructures. Axiom provides IT hardware solutions that deliver equal or better performance compared to their OEM equivalents, at a fraction of the price. Let Axiom help your business build better virtualization environments for your data centers.
Contact an Axiom representative today to learn more about our hardware solutions for virtualization.