Why you should know what virtualisation is

By: IT Donut contributor

Date: 24 February 2014

Why you should know what virtualisation is/Modern interior of server room{{}}There’s a good chance you’ll have heard the term ‘virtualisation’ before. You might even have been told it’s a super-efficient way to set up the servers in your company.

And it’s true: the arguments for virtualisation are impressive. It can make your organisation’s IT system more cost-effective, while also providing extra flexibility in the software you use every day.

However, although these benefits have made virtualisation more popular over the last few years, many companies still need help to understand the basics.

What is virtualisation?

In simple terms, virtualisation separates the software and the hardware on a server, creating a new go-between the two.

Picture an average server room belonging to a business. Typically, this room contains a bunch of servers stacked high with red and green blinking lights, buzzing with noise and generating a lot of heat.

(If you can’t picture it, the photo above is of a really big server room. Your company might only have one or two servers, but virtualisation can still be helpful.)

Each of these servers is running specific software, usually to perform a particular job, like managing your company’s email or customer database.

All these servers use electricity and cost you money to run.

The thing is, in reality each server is massively underused. You might think that your email server is working hard, but actually it might only be being used at 20% of its capacity. That’s really wasteful.

Enter virtualisation, which allows you to merge all these different servers onto a single server containing all the software and files that relate to the business.

Virtualisation is a form of consolidation. It brings several different servers together into one.

Now how does your server room look? Well, there are fewer machines, it’s less noisy, you’re using less electricity and your costs are lower too.

Virtualisation breaks with tradition

Traditionally, a single server was a specific piece of hardware installed with its own operating system and software.

The hardware and software were linked, so you had to choose a particular platform to use. Did you want a Windows server, a Linux server or a Mac server? 

Virtualisation flips these conventions around, giving you more freedom and flexibility. If you have one or more servers in your business, it’s certainly worth investigating.

To learn more about how virtualisation works, see how one business replaced its old servers with virtualisation.

This is a post from Akita, a company providing IT support and computer services to businesses in Kent and London.

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