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Trends that justify Virtualization for Businesses

written by: Ashwin Satyanarayana•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/12/2008

Virtualization is a hot topic now and everyone seems to be talking about -- from CEOs to vendors, and of course technology enthusiasts. However, is it justified? Or is it just an ephemeral hype? Do you need virtualization in the first place? Is it a requirement for your business? Read on...

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    Virtualization- enabling a single piece of hardware to support multiple systems and support multiple hosts- has been bandied about as if it is the new bride in town, and the town has nothing else to do but either sleep or talk about brides, for lack of better things. It’s been the hot topic around for a quite a while now and there are reasons for that.

    Real estate is getting precious; energy costs are headed northwards and data center costs for companies that have anything to do with IT - directly or indirectly- are relentlessly mounting. There is an urgent call to take an action with increasing amounts of data; the fact that computer storage increases exponentially with each new model of a service or a computing system. So what are the reasons why virtualization has been such a hot topic? Why are people talking about it? What specific trends, if any, justify its importance today?

    What’s the hardware doing here?

    It has been reported by many businesses - small and big -- that only about 10 - 15 percent of the computing or storage capacity of the hardware -- like server racks, advance storage and computing servers etc. -- is being used up. On top of that, any new hardware you might purchase brings that “usage” percentage down because the storage capacity doubles up. This means you don't need to be a Massachusetts grad to realize that it is a large waste of resources, simply because even though the computing infrastructure isn’t being used to capacity, the space, the electricity (energy), and the maintenance costs are still being incurred. Virtualization lets you save on all those above mentioned costs by creating virtual environments for businesses, thereby putting the costs to an efficient and economical use.

    Paperless Offices will call for change

    Business processes have changed drastically over the years and there is a major trend towards paperless organizations. When everything previously on paper moves to digital space, you will need a lot of storage space, won’t you? Where do you think you will haul this data to? The problem has two ramifications: firstly, there is bound to be a rise in cost for this increased storage space and also requirements for new methods of storage. So, what figures? Of course- you guessed it right! Virtualization solves this problem for you by providing virtual storage, virtual environments and a seamless integration of all that data in a minimum amount of space -- thanks to its ability to host multiple computing platforms.

    We are going Green, Buddy

    There is a need to save energy now, since we are smack in the middle of an energy crisis. There seems to be a shortage of resources of everything from electricity to coal; from fossil fuels to all other forms of energy. We haven’t even started talking about the clamoring voices against spoiling the environment and the like. Corporations are pressed hard to go green. They are constantly urged to minimize their energy usage and bring down their energy costs. What would you get if you are able to use a single physical server (or at least a minimum number of servers, as opposed to thousands of square feet of space) by the utilization of virtualization- enabling you to save tremendous amounts of energy? About 1.2 % of energy consumed in the U.S goes towards running “Data Centers” alone. Now, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

    We still have costs to pay towards administration and maintenance

    We spoke about the costs of maintaining hardware intensive data centers and the fact that we still have to spend for them. Let’s add more to that -- you also need maintenance and administrators, technical staff and competent personnel to man these data centers. The labor intensive data centers demand a lot of man-power- like system administrators who must be co-located with the servers ( for easy access) and on top of that, they are outrageously expensive. Are you adding up your costs? So what does virtualization do? By reducing the number of systems in use, the number of personnel required for the upkeep of these machines is decreased too. Overall, there have been drastic decreases in the cost of maintenance of data centers and an effective use of appropriate man-power thanks to virtualization.

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