The following is a guest post by John Grady, senior manager of product marketing at XO Communications:
The cloud gets all the hype, but enterprise virtualization shouldn't be marginalized. According to Wired Innovation Insights, virtualization can help companies reduce their data center footprint, lower CapEx and automate the provision of computing nodes. In other words, don't count virtualization out just yet — here are seven unique benefits for the enterprise.
The era of 20 servers for 20 workloads is over. Now, it's possible to purchase two or three large servers and run multiple workloads in a virtual environment. Simplicity notes that running these “simulated machines” can have far-reaching benefits, including far greater consolidation of resources. Since virtual machines (VMs) can be configured to run unique applications or operating systems as needed, it's possible to consolidate disparate workloads on single machines and still have them all “play nice.” Moving to a virtualized environment also gives enterprises the opportunity to assess what David Bartoletti of Forrester Research calls “consolidation ratios.” Programs running on physical servers that aren't making best use of allotted resources are often prime candidates for virtualization.
With features like live migration, fault tolerance and high availability, virtualized servers can keep enterprise workloads up and running longer, and with less chance of unexpected downtime. Even if disaster strikes, moving a virtual machine is far less time- and resource-intensive than trying to snapshot and transfer the contents of an entire server.
The use of software defined networking (SDN), which acts as an abstraction layer between a company network and physical routers, allows workloads to be provisioned almost instantly. As a result, virtualized environments are ideal for application testing and rollout, since resources can be provisioned on an as-needed basis and then returned to the network “pool” once they're no longer required. In addition, virtualization allows you to overcome the limits of VLAN, which permits only 4096 isolated networks. Overlay networks that rely on L3 domains and 24-bit virtual network interfaces (VNIs), meanwhile, allow a whopping 16 million isolated networks.
A Step From the Cloud
There's often confusion about the line between virtual environments and the cloud. In practice, the two are very similar but as noted by Business News Daily, “virtualization differs from cloud computing because virtualization is software that manipulates hardware, while cloud computing refers to a service that results from that manipulation.” Virtualized enterprise environments, however, are often ideal stepping stones to the cloud.
When workloads are all easily accessible on virtual servers, it becomes possible to create granular security protocols. This is an essential function for enterprises that have ties to healthcare, finance or government organizations — when security for each workload can be managed independently, compliance is far less of a challenge.
The resource consolidation offered by virtualization also makes it possible to employ real-time, high-level analytics, both to monitor network function and drill down into “big data” for insight. Implementing these kinds of solutions across traditional servers is possible but often comes with a prohibitively high cost — once virtualized, it's possible for analytics tools to crawl across an entire virtual network, without regard for OS or workload, in turn providing a host of actionable insights.
Unified Communications (UC)
The last big benefit of enterprise virtualization? Unified communications (UC). The simplest way to support the need for real-time video, voice and Web chat is by leveraging a hosted PBX or hosted VoIP provider to handle all your communication needs off-site. Virtualizing this workload means you're no longer tied to traditional telecom providers, while keeping data off-site means local IT pros don't need to worry about managing connection issues.
Considering enterprise virtualization? Consolidation, improved uptime and time-to-provision are all excellent starting points. Security, cloud and analytics-readiness along with support for unified communications also factor in — there are big benefits to going virtual.
John Grady is the senior manager, product marketing with XO Communications responsible for marketing the XO Data, Managed Services, Security and Applications Performance Management (APM) products. In this role, John has been responsible for launching a number of XO products including 100G service, several new cloud products, as well the XO Network Enabled Cloud solution.
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Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 18,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.