In computing virtualisation is the act of creating a virtual version of an item of hardware on a host computer which is usually in the cloud. For example a server running on Linux could also be hosting any number of virtual Microsoft Windows machines. These machines to the user would behave just like a physical computer would.
How can virtualisation help my business?
At first virtualisation seems quite a strange thing to want to do. The more you think about it however, the more the benefits become apparent.
For example, virtualisation allows you to:
- Create many virtual servers on one physical server. This is extremaly cost effective and allows far easier disaster recovery strategies to be planned.
- Take snapshots of a server and backup that up to a remote NAS Unit. Which in turn could be copied on to an external Encrypted Drive and taken off-site.
- Individual Virtual Servers can be allocated different and or additional resources as required. The single physical server may have 128Gb RAM, 2 Processors and 4TB of space. Each individual Server can be allocated varying amounts of these resources as required.
We have setup many Virtual Servers as they are the most efficient way of using Hardware.
The initial costs
There is a small cost premium initially but in the event of finding you need another Server rather than buying a complete box you can purchase a copy of the Server Software and if necessary upgrade the existing Server Hardware. Add the new virtual server and away you go.
The benefits of virtualisation for disaster recovery and data security
Backing up Virtual Servers can drastically reduce the time it takes to restore a system after a major disaster, whether this comes in the form of a Virus, Fire or Flood.
Normal backups consist of the data being used daily. This can be restored to a new Server or other device in the event of a problem. However, in the event of the Server failing the user details, shared printers, databases, permissions etc must all be recreated. This is extremely time consuming.
With Virtual Servers you can take a snap shot of the server in its entirety, so if it needs to be restored all this information is restored. Even if this image is a few days or weeks old, once restored the live data from the daily data backup can be restored to bring the entire system up to date.
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