Server Virtualization Part II

Server Virtualization Part II

by Tony B. Lumpkin III on February 12, 2012

Part 2 of a 2 Part Article on Server Virtualization

 

Click here for Part 1 of this article.

The advantages to virtualization don’t end with money savings and simplified administration.  There are several other benefits as well.

Increase Network Reliability

Any time the majority of people initially discover about virtualization, their first reaction is to resist the thought of placing all your eggs (VMs) in a single basket (Host). Imagine if that Host server fails? Now a computer hardware failure would bring down 3 or 4 servers rather than only one? No thanks. Virtualization frees your servers of their reliance upon a single device in particular. This means that if you’re running three Hosts  network and one of these fails, then your VMs can instantly boot up on the 2 Hosts which are still operating. With a virtual environment correctly set up by VMware technical engineers, you’ll have an environment where after a Host failure, the VMs operating on that Host will immediately boot up on the remaining Hosts without any involvement from IT staff. This provides a person plenty of time to restore the down server, bring it back online and transfer those VMs back over. Regarding relocating VMs, here’s another thing to take into consideration. Maybe you have received those email messages from the IT team informing you that the e-mail server is going to be down on Saturday as they want to make hardware modifications to the server? Not anymore. Virtualization enables you to move VMs from one Host to another while the VMs are still running. Now, when you have any reason to bring a server down (equipment replacement, BIOS updates, and so on.), you can do so without any disruption to the end users. These are merely some examples of the numerous advantages to virtualization that keep your servers running as well as your end users functioning.

A Better Disaster Recovery Plan and Backup Routine

A VM is but one data file that operates on a Host. If one makes a duplicate of that data file, you’ve backed up your entire server in the condition that it was in during the copy. This provides you a remarkable edge over conventional backup solutions. Conventional backups comprise of data only. Therefore if a server fails, you need to rebuild the server to the state it was in before the crash, and then restore the data. This is a process that might take anywhere from 1 day to a full week depending on the circumstances. When you back up VMs as a file, then a server rebuild takes exactly the same period of time that it takes to copy that backed up file from its origin to the desired destination. Put simply, server restores now take minutes instead of days. You can also find many 3rd party programs accessible to improve your backups of virtual devices. A few permit you to back up VMs while they’re running. Others enable you to duplicate VMs from one host to another multiple times throughout the day. You’ll be able to back up your Exchange hosting server as a machine (for disasters) and also have the capacity to restore particular mail boxes (often referred to as brick level back ups). A lot of people keep back ups of their VMs on-site as well as off-site so that devices may be restored rapidly whether it is a local crisis or a site disaster. For those companies with several locations, you are able to set up a disaster location where you duplicate your VMs in real time. In case of a disaster, you can instantly boot your servers at the disaster site and be back on-line inside of a few minutes. Although this may seem expensive, you can reduce that expenditure by building your disaster site with available equipment which may no longer be needed once you invest in virtualization.

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