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

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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