Data Centers

Consider virtualization to consolidate servers, test deployments, and cut hardware costs

How can you balance your budget without shutting the door on new technology implementations? One answer is to embrace the growing trend of virtualization. Learn more about the benefits of virtualization in this Windows 2000 Server tip.

Even when you take into account today's reduced hardware costs on a per-server basis, installing multiple servers can easily become expensive—particularly when each server handles a relatively light load. In addition, installing a server to test a new server application or to plan and test a deployment can also be an expensive proposition.

In a time when many companies continue to tighten their budgets, these added expenses can be quite unwelcome. Then again, most companies typically don't welcome additional costs in any situation.

How can you balance your budget without shutting the door on new technology implementations? One answer is to embrace the growing trend of virtualization—running a virtual server on an existing physical server.

Virtual machines have become a standard tool for testing applications and system configurations, and assessing potential new software. Deploying virtual machines in your organization can save you hardware costs and administrative headaches, but which software best serves your interest and that of your organization?

There are currently two major products available for server virtualization: VMware GSX Server 3.1 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. (Microsoft also offers Virtual PC 2004, a desktop application.)

Both products enable organizations to run single or multiple virtual servers on a single physical server. GSX Server supports both Microsoft and non-Microsoft operating systems, and, as you might expect, Microsoft doesn't support running non-Microsoft OSs on Virtual Server, even though it's possible.)

Both products are good choices for server virtualization, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. If you need to run non-Microsoft virtual servers in a production environment, GSX Server is your best bet. But if your company is a Microsoft-only shop, Virtual Server is a good choice because of its lower cost. Both companies offer a trial version to help you determine which product best suits your organization's needs.

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