Why You Should Care About Virtualization (Part 2)

In my first post in this series I stated that you need to know about and care about virtualization in your company. And I sincerely mean this regardless of your role or position. I don’t care if you are in sales or marketing or finance or development. I don’t care if you are the CEO of a billion dollar company or if you are a software developer trying to debug some code or if you are a marketing manager relying on business systems (such as email) to do your job. Simply put, a properly virtual platform will have profound and compelling benefits that will affect your ability to do your job and grow your company.

But how?

I’m glad you asked. Quite frankly, the benefits are so numerous I find it hard to know where to begin. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is what counts here in corporate America, so let’s start there.

Virtual servers are not bound by the same physical limitations that constrict traditionally built servers. And what this means is that we can now safely put many virtual servers onto a single physical server. Consolidation ratios of 30:1 are typical and upwards of 75:1 are certainly not uncommon.

And let’s think about this for a second. Assuming a 50:1 ratio, if my company is spending millions of dollars a year on a data center that has 5000 physical servers, for example, how much money would my company save by creating 5000 identical virtual servers and running them on a solid virtual platform running on only 100 physical servers? That’s right, 5000 physical servers can be reduced to 100 or less. Think about what that means in terms of hardware, power and colling, provisioning and administration, etc. The dollar savings are absolutely profound. I’m not kidding. In a later post I’ll show you some real world TCO and ROI calculations and the numbers are seriously unbelievable. Even the most stern and stodgy of CFO’s will be as giddy as school girl. Very exciting.

And let’s think about this a little more. If a virtual platform can save your company millions of dollars, what could that money be used for? Could it be used to hire top notch talent to grow your business? Or could it be used to purchase more advertising, marketing, or sales talent? It’s a rhetorical question, you don’t have to answer.

The next benefit is undoubtedly the most powerful and exciting, but it’s one that most individuals don’t understand right away. Everyone gets the dollar cost savings instantly. It’s easy to see and understand. But really the most powerful benefit of virtualization is mobility.

Revisiting our VPN example from the last post, what does a VPN allow you to do? It allows you to be mobile and access the corporate office from anywhere. You are now free from the home office and you can quickly pick up and go get business done. Similarly, a virtual data center allows your infrastructure to quickly move, change and adapt to meet your business requirements. Once my servers and applications are virtual, they become highly mobile, and they can easily move from one physical server or infrastructure to another with very little effort.

This mobility has a tremendous impact on all sorts of things that you care about. All of the applications you use every day (email, web, file sharing, etc.) can now move around with zero downtime and in a manner that is absolutely transparent to you. This allows for things like zero downtime maintenance and significant performance improvements for your applications.

Since this post is getting a little long, I’ll continue to address the remaining benefits of creating a virtual infrastructure in part three of this series.  Sorry for the delay between posts, it has been a very busy month.  Part three should come along much quicker (I hope).