You can gain a number of benefits by implementing a virtualisation environment but these will depend on your requirements, your situation and your type of organisation.
- Potentially lower hardware costs because the need for more hardware is reduced as it consolidates and potentially reduces the number of servers that are required.
- Lower maintenance costs – if fewer servers are required, then there will be a positive impact on maintenance costs.
- It is perceived as a ‘green’ solution as it will reduce an organisations’ carbon footprint.
- Reduced storage requirements. Rather than purchasing more storage, it is possible to maximise and use a number of computers’ storage facilities that are underutilised.
- Virtualisation can negate the need to take backups when a computer server is offline i.e. when people can not access it. Naturally this is inconvenient but extremely important to ensure that you have access to important data should something happen. Generally this has to be carried out at night or at weekends.
- As a result of the above, IT personnel will not need to work anti-social hours and perhaps be paid an element of over time.
- Disaster Recovery. In the event of a server failing or perhaps there being a catastrophe such as a flood or explosion, many organisations have a contingency plan in place whereby they pay for a limited amount of office space from a disaster recovery company. This organisation provides the computer equipment required that the company needs in order for them to continue operating. Clearly for this to work effectively, a copy of all of the company’s data and information must be kept and loaded onto the disaster recovery company’s computers. The trouble with this is that more often than not, the information is perhaps a week or more old. Virtualisation allows the information, such as emails, to be replicated in real-time onto the disaster recover organisations’ systems ensuring that all information will be up to date.
- Virtual machines can run a number of different operating systems on one platform. This makes it easier to develop new software and test it across multiple platforms. For example if a company is writing a software programme, they may find it useful and more commercially viable if they work on a number of different types of computer systems rather than on one.
- Reduced space. Organisations that have many servers and storage (normally within a dedicated room) can reduce the need for such expensive facilities.