Server virtualisation is the act of ensuring that server resources, processors, operating systems and individual physical servers are masked from the user.
In order to divide one physical server into different, isolated virtual environments, the server administrator uses a software application. This means a piece of hardware can now run multiple operating system images at the same time. The technology was introduced on mainframes in the 1960s, allowing administrators to avoid wasting expensive processing power. Since 2003 it has been increasingly used on Windows and Linux servers running on X86 hardware, typically by utilising virtualisation software from one of the virtualisation software vendors.
The traditional model of one service per server as promoted by server architecture common to most organisations' Windows and LINUX estates has created a large amount of inefficiency. Proliferation of servers has meant that there is often too high a cost associated with procuring, powering, running and maintaining organisations hardware estates. Virtualisation allows these costs to be significantly reduced by grouping servers onto individual server host.
Virtualisation of servers is not all about cost reduction, by digitising servers you can also provide much greater capability for the provision of IT services, especially in the context of high availability and business continuity. Because servers have become files they can now be replicated and moved to ensure that services are backed up and able to be restarted or moved to new servers should there be a problem with the underlying physical hardware. Also creating and destroying test and development environments becomes much less onerous and server administration becomes centralised.
Key areas addressed by Redcentric using server virtualisation:
- Server and data centre consolidation
- High availability/business continuity
- Virtualisation managed services