Can virtualization save you money?

Virtualization is being thrown at us from all directions. All the major vendors are moving into this arena: VMware (an EMC company) is not alone anymore.

Just in case you need a refresher, a virtual machine is simply a fully functioning computer where you can install an operating system of your choice, with network configuration and a full suite of software.

The catch is the operating system is virtual and resides an existing server/computer. These types of configurations allow you to save money, consolidate servers and maximize your utilization.

Since everyone I know who interested in virtualization is talking about these three benefits, let's explore them in greater detail:

Saving Money

If you talk to any CTO in any company and tell him or her you can save them "X" number of dollars by complimenting their network infrastructure with virtualization, you will have an willing audience.

How you say? Here's a good example: You just recently purchased five licenses of Windows 2003 for five servers about to implemented into your infrastructure. This would roughly cost you $10K-to-$15K in licensing fees.

What if I told you I could give you the same infrastructure for $2K-to-$5K? How? By simply buying one license of Windows Server 2003 R2, you get up to four virtual instances free-of-charge. Simply download any virtualization software you desire and install four more virtual operating systems for free.

Consolidating Servers

Hosting facilities and corporate server rooms are busting at the seams. It seems every vendor has some unique software that requires a stand-alone server. In the dot-com era this might have worked, but today we are faced with increasing energy costs to power these money-sucking machines.

Server rooms are the energy vampires of technology's new millennium. How can we face this increasing cost head on? Virtualization.

You could have a software and server inventory done and see how many servers are simply just running one application-maybe even a legacy application. By taking advantage of virtualization, you could easily consolidate 20 servers down to five.

Maximize Utilization

Maximizing utilization of servers and consolidation of servers seem to go hand-in-hand. You cannot do one without the other. When you consolidate servers, you maximize utilization.

As a consultant working deep in the trenches, I can't tell you how many times I've seen a huge Quad processor server running a miniscule app and the utilization of the server is not even registering.

That same box, if utilized to its potential, could host three-to-five virtual instances. It is not uncommon these days to gather up all the legacy applications you are still running and place them on one server with several virtual instances.

By properly utilizing your servers with virtualization, you will reduce costs and consolidate servers in your environment.

So the next time your IT cronies are hanging out by the water cooler and they start talking about virtualization, what they are really discussing is reduced costs, consolidated servers, and maximized infrastructure.

It just sounds like one word.

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