Issue No. 101January 2021
New Year, New Server?
With the New Year upon us, many are looking in their server closet at old end of life servers that are collecting dust. If this is you, you may want to consider server virtualization as a strategic method to replace old server hosts.
Server Virtualization Definition
Server virtualization is the process of dividing a physical server into multiple unique and isolated virtual servers by means of a software application. Each virtual server can run its own operating systems independently. This provides cost savings and economies of scale.
Key Benefits of Server Virtualization:
- Higher server ability
- Cheaper operating costs
- Lower energy cost to run one server host versus multiple server hosts
- Lower cost to replace parts on one server host versus multiple server
- Eliminate server complexity
- Increased application performance
- Deploy workload quicker
Three Kinds of Server Virtualization:
- Full Virtualization: Full virtualization uses a hypervisor, a type of software that directly communicates with a physical server’s disk space and CPU. The hypervisor monitors the physical server’s resources and keeps each virtual server independent and unaware of the other virtual servers. It also relays resources from the physical server to the correct virtual server as it runs applications. The biggest limitation of using full virtualization is that a hypervisor has its own processing needs. This can slow down applications and impact server performance.
- Para-Virtualization: Unlike full virtualization, para-virtualization involves the entire network working together as a cohesive unit. Since each operating system on the virtual servers is aware of one another in para-virtualization, the hypervisor does not need to use as much processing power to manage the operating systems.
- OS-Level Virtualization: Unlike full and para-virtualization, OS-level visualization does not use a hypervisor. Instead, the virtualization capability, which is part of the physical server operating system, performs all the tasks of a hypervisor. However, all the virtual servers must run that same operating system in this server virtualization method.
Why Server Virtualization?
Server virtualization is a cost-effective way to utilize existing resources in IT infrastructure. Without server virtualization, servers only use a small part of their processing power. This results in servers sitting idle because the workload is distributed to only a portion of the network’s servers. Data centers become overcrowded with underutilized servers, causing a waste of resources and power.
By having each physical server divided into multiple virtual servers, server virtualization allows each virtual server to act as a unique physical device. Each virtual server can run its own applications and operating system. This process increases the utilization of resources by making each virtual server act as a physical server and increases the capacity of each physical machine.