More so than ever before, we live a virtual lifestyle. If you don’t want to buy a physical copy of something, you can purchase it digitally instead. Virtualization has become an option for companies as well. What are the benefits of virtualization?
Your company can benefit from virtualization in the following ways:
If this is the first your company is hearing of virtualization, then keep reading. In this guide, we’ll explain the concept in more detail. Then we’ll elaborate further on the above benefits of virtualizing your server, network, and/or desktop.
What Is Virtualization?
First thing’s first; let’s begin with a clear definition of virtualization. When a company virtualizes its data center, what they’re doing is taking a physical component and making it virtual or digital instead. Everything from computer networks to storage devices, hardware and software, and servers can be virtualized.
This is an appealing alternative to a company being forced to run many servers to maintain the needs of its data center. As we probably don’t even need to tell you, those operating costs can be quite high.
When using virtualization, your company has a virtual computer system, also referred to as a virtual machine. This digital replica of the physical computer includes its operating system and applications, software, and programs.
The virtual machine functions in different states, which you can then save as files at any time. These files operate the same way any files do on your physical computer. If you wanted to copy a virtual machine file from one folder to another, you could. You can also duplicate, delete, and erase these files.
Not all virtualization is necessarily the same. There are three types of virtualization a company and its IT personnel might seek to implement. These are desktop, network, and server virtualization. Here’s an overview of all three types.
Desktop virtualization is all about creating a virtual desktop with applications at the ready. These virtual desktops are ready to share with other mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. You can also send the virtual desktop to your offshore staff, otherwise outsource the desktops, and distribute them to members of your branch offices as well.
By taking a physical network and digitizing it, these virtual networks are hardware-free yet still as functional as their physical counterparts. A virtualized network might utilize VPNs, load balancers, firewalls, routers, switches, and logical ports for greater security.
With server virtualization, you transfer a physical server to a digital copy. This server can run several operating systems, unlike a physical server. You can also clone a server as needed for testing purposes, which we’ll talk more about shortly.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what virtualization is as well as the various types, let’s next expound further on the benefits that we listed in the intro. This section will help your company decide whether virtualizing your physical machines and servers is within your best interest.
Less Equipment Leads to Lower Operating Costs
When you have virtual copies of your network and especially your servers, your company will find that keeping so much computer equipment around the data center is extraneous. You can begin removing this equipment, selling it and driving a profit in that way.
The operational costs of your data center, now with less physical equipment, will decrease. Provided you maintain virtualization over the long-term, your cost savings should remain steady from month to month and even year to year.
After a period of working with a reduced server and equipment load, you might further decrease the physical equipment you have in your data center. This can lead to even more significant savings.
Speaking of saving money, many companies that embrace virtualization have found that their IT team works more fluidly, which cuts down on how much money the company spends on IT resources.
If your company is trying to trim your finances and budget for a tighter 2021, virtualizing your equipment will be exceptionally useful. You can even take the money you’re saving and put it into other areas of growing your business. Either way, your company should be healthily in the green.
Smaller Carbon Footprint
Companies in any and every industry should strive to do what they can to shrink their carbon footprint. The larger your company’s carbon footprint is, the more you’re adding to the world’s greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.
Most people don’t necessarily do this consciously, as it’s very easy to expand your carbon footprint without even meaning to. For instance, when you drive to and from work every day, that’s boosting your carbon footprint. So too is using any form of electricity, from turning on the lights in your data center to your computers, servers, and other equipment.
Even if you can’t necessarily stop driving to work due to distance, your company can be more eco-friendly in that you can reduce the electricity needs of your operations through virtualization. This goes back to what we mentioned in the last section.
You and your employees can feel better about what you’re doing for the earth each time you go to work. Your level of data center efficiency doesn’t need to decrease, only the equipment that allows for that efficiency.
Easier Disaster Recovery
Although you don’t like to think much about it, it’s always important to have a contingency plan for what your company will do in the face of disaster. Whether it’s that someone accidentally deleted an all-important file or you forgot to do a backup and your computer won’t turn back on, the data loss potential here is catastrophic.
By virtualizing your desktops and servers, data recovery is simplified, not to mention it’s less expensive. There’s no need to physically send a machine to your IT team or have them drive out to your data center to inspect the machine. You also don’t have to worry about the hours or days it can take to physically repair a broken machine.
Once you move to virtualization, your IT staff can digitally clone the damaged machine, reviewing it and identifying what’s wrong with it quickly. Without the elements of physically working on hardware, it’s much easier to get the cloned machine up and running. Your IT team can then clone the fixes back to the original digital machine, which will then be ready to go.
This doesn’t mean you should get careless with your files–backing them up is still very important–but you have the assurance that even if seemingly the worst happens, it won’t be the end of the world for your company.
Less Server Maintenance
Is your IT team working on your data center all the time to maintain your machines and your servers especially? This can be detrimental to the productivity of your company, as while the servers or machines are under maintenance, you might not be able to use them. Yet you also recognize that this maintenance is a crucial part of keeping your data center afloat, so you let it happen.
Your server and machine maintenance needs can be greatly decreased through virtualization. First, as mentioned already, you have fewer servers in your data center since you digitized more of your operations. Fewer servers can improve and shorten maintenance time so your IT team working on your machines is less obstructive.
As for the virtualized servers? As the last section illustrates, digitizing your servers, networks, and desktops allows for quickly diagnosing and repairing issues on the part of your IT team, even issues that are categorized as disasters. This too cuts down on your company’s tech maintenance needs.
Shorter Periods of Downtime
Also going hand-in-hand with faster repairs and less maintenance is that moving ahead, your company can expect less downtime on IT jobs. Gone are the days for your IT team having to wait for certain hardware to arrive so they can begin repairs on your broken computer. Your virtual systems are quickly replicated, digitally repaired, and then copied over so your current system is up-to-date and working its best.
There are plenty of situations in which a company cannot afford to wait for time-consuming repairs. For one, maybe you have a big client meeting coming up that you can’t reschedule. You could also be closing in on a deal and unable to stop for interruptions. Through virtualization, some companies can significantly reduce their IT downtime and others can even eliminate it altogether.
Faster Implementation of New Applications and Software
Software and hardware are constantly evolving, and so when a new update rolls out, you know you have to do it sooner than later. Finding the time for an update is the problem, as you typically have to sit idly by while your computer updates, as it’s certainly not very usable at this time.
The other issue that can arise from updating software and applications is that what if the new version doesn’t work as well as the old one? This does happen sometimes. Lack of quality control can allow for bugs and glitches to pass undetected, ultimately affecting your user experience.
With a virtualized network, your IT team can download the new software or application before installing it on all the computers/servers in your data center. The IT pro would clone the updated version of the digital network and use it inside and out, looking for bugs, glitches, and other errors that would make the update unwanted.
If there were such issues, your IT team might advise to you wait to update until the bugs are patched out, which shouldn’t take long if the bugs are serious enough. Should an update work as intended with no serious problems, then your IT team can add the app or software to their current production application, making the app even more agile. Then it can be cloned to the virtualized networks or desktops.
Virtualization is the process of creating digitized networks, servers, and/or desktops for a data center. In doing so, you can reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on the number of machines in your data center, and save money. Your IT staff will also find it easier to do data recovery, update new apps and software, and work quickly with less downtime.
Even if you decide to only virtualize some of the machines in your data center to begin with, you’ll quickly realize the above benefits and wish to follow through with an expanded virtualization plan for your company.
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