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Virtual IT Infrastructure - Pros and Cons

Virtual IT Infrastructure - To begin with, there are many types of virtualization, but as part of this material will be referred to three. The first is the presentation virtualization. The most glaring example is, Terminal Services Windows Server. In this case, the client application runs on the server and the client sees only the interface. This model allows access to lower hardware requirements on the client and improve safety.
Virtual IT Infrastructure

Virtual IT Infrastructure

Regarding hardware, the smartphone can even be used as a client terminal. This could be the next big step in a corporate environment. Already today there are providers that offer Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI). Here, the user's mobile phone acts as a "thin client", and the OS is running on a remote server. This solution has already gained popularity among followers of the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Virtual IT Infrastructure

The second type of virtualization is a virtualization applications. Application virtualization allows you to run a separate application in an isolated environment, the so-called "sandbox". Thus, it can not harm the operating system and other applications, which makes it possible to run on the same computer several programs conflicting with each other.

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The third type is it's Server Virtualization, hardware simulation computer using special software. On a virtual machine, you can install an operating system, and it will work the same way as on a physical machine. The most interesting advantage of this technology is the ability to run multiple virtual machines within a single "Iron", which allows maximum use of the resources of the physical server.

For what and why:

But where virtualization can be used and what the benefits from this? Virtualization can be used to test new solutions, as well as staff training. For example, you can test the developed app or "patch" to him before launching into production. To do this, you do not have to buy equipment and to risk a failure of the entire IT infrastructure in case of error.

But server virtualization is suitable for use in the very production-environments. The reasons are several. For starters, it saves money. Due to the consolidation of this technology reduces the number of servers. Previously, to perform any task required multiple physical machines, you can now run the desired number of guest operating systems in a virtual environment on a single server. This saves on hardware support.

Simultaneously, it is possible to reduce the number of attendants. Of course, someone still has to monitor the health of the host server, but if the fleet was reduced from 200 to 50 copies, it can be reduced and the number of specialists.

Of course, the coin has a flip side. When implementing virtualization solutions on the basis of need to buy a new "iron". The fact that the virtual machine is sufficiently "greedy" and require a lot of resources to run. Accordingly, it will need more powerful processors, additional memory, a faster storage system.

However, here comes the well-known principle: "To save money, they must first spend." It is highly unlikely that this system would be so expensive that exceed the value of all the virtualized servers. So much for the benefits.

From the first second reason follows: reducing the number of physical servers leads to a reduction of space consumption. This reduces the rent for the rack in the data center. If the company has its own data center, it means the total reduction in power consumption and heat dissipation systems, thus it is possible to purchase less powerful and less expensive cooling system which is sure to be reflected in electricity bills.

Also worth noting is that virtualization allows you to reduce the cost of administration of infrastructure. One of the main advantages is the possibility of remote access to the management console. For example, to restart the server, you will no longer run in the computer room (or use KVM-switches IP-based), you can file a reboot command from the console. Similarly, one can connect additional computing resources.

In addition, another advantage of the virtualization is the ease of cloning virtual machines. Let us assume that the company's server infrastructure is standardized, and is a group of servers with the same settings. If the leadership of the organization is decided to open an additional office, the deployment of new infrastructure will be reduced to copying images and configuring software.

Yes, the "transfer" to the virtual infrastructure makes it possible to direct all their efforts to improve the quality of service provided. But despite the fact that virtualized and cloud environments have opened up new ways to develop businesses, they also brought with them new challenges.

Virtualization, there are a drawback:

The need to restructure the approach to work with the system reliability. Indeed, since on one physical server simultaneously run multiple virtual machines, the failure of the host leads to a simultaneous failure of all VMs and applications running on them. It is therefore advisable to use a fault-tolerant solutions, for example based on the failover clustering.

In this case, two or more servers working in a group and look for the user as a single server that handles requests and is responsible for job applications. In case of failure of one of the cluster nodes, custom applications perform a failover, automatic restart of operation sites, and the application or does not exits, or stops at a sufficiently short time.

Another question - load balancing. For example, if the virtual machine uses a lot of computing resources of the processor (or memory), it affects the work of other VM Host, which also requires processor time (memory). Administrators have to balance the load by setting rules that are running virtual machines will automatically move to the least loaded server or "unload" loaded.

Virtualization technologies are designed to solve the problems with insufficient degree of utilization of natural resources systems, but now there is a dangerous blow to the other extreme . People have started to create a VM at every opportunity, often forgetting to remove old and unused machines. This leads to difficulties with a lack of disk space, increased consumption of computing resources and outages.

Very often companies consider virtualization panacea, leading to even greater expenditure of resources. It is worth remembering that virtual technology - it's just a tool, which has its advantages and disadvantages.

Small, but is Virtual

Today, many leading companies are actively implemented projects on virtualization of IT Infrastructure. Vendors a variety of virtualization platforms can cite the example of successful solutions implemented in major banks, government and educational institutions, even hospitals. All these companies are taking advantage of technology and save on maintenance, personnel, hardware.

It is often discussed in the context of virtualization of large companies, because they allow resources to get the most out of the Virtual IT Infrastructure. But do not forget about the small organizations that are also able to get their share of the benefits.

"Virtualization is not just for the companies from Fortune-500, says Allen Hall, an engineer from Align Communications. Even small businesses can use virtualization to reduce operating costs and increase the availability of applications".

But one needs to understand that although virtualization can give certain advantages, if your project is very small, the use of virtual technology can be simply inappropriate. To determine this, you need to answer three simple questions.

1. You have a serious IT environment? 

As computing power continues to grow, often it does not make sense to have multiple servers, where one or more of them cope well with the desired goals. However, server consolidation for some businesses is not a necessity. For companies with a simple and small IT Infrastructures, virtualization may not be the best solution.

"If a company has one application, and only a couple of servers, the migration to virtual infrastructure can not bring the expected benefits, said Sean Sellers, Vision Solutions Product Manager. He also adds that the companies in which only a couple of employees work, it is worth paying attention to cloud services instead of virtual technologies.

2. How will the changing IT needs with business growth? 

Another advantage of Virtual IT Infrastructure, it enables you to automate time-consuming tasks, which leaves most of the time IT staff. "Virtualized platforms allow you to do more with less and are easily scalable to the growth of requests", says Jason Beyter, architect of enterprise solutions from Annese & Associates Inc.

For example, if the company you want to add a new server in the case of traditional infrastructure will require significant financial investments and time expenses. If virtualization is done almost instantly. That baggage, if you expect in the near future a significant growth and the rapid development of the company, it may make sense to switch to virtual technologies.

3. Does the virtualization system there that is right for you?

Since the majority of virtualization focused on large companies and corporations, small businesses can be hard to find something that will satisfy their needs. Many providers, even such large as VMware, Citrix, and the Microsoft, positioning itself as a small-business-friendly, and they need to pay attention, but first of all, you can simply refer to the virtualization service , has a good community and the competence to try the basic capabilities.

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