Introduction To Virtualisation
This is a featured blog from Frontline Technical Consultant, Chris Beckett.
Hello and allow me to introduce myself! My name is Chris Beckett and I’ve been with Frontline since the start of May to help deliver best in class VMware products and services, along with third party ecosystem solutions. I’ve worked with VMware products since 2005 and in the partner channel since 2008, so I’ve been doing this stuff a while! Although virtualisation has become the norm in many organisations, there are still plenty of businesses that could really benefit from using virtualisation technologies to improve business processes and agility.
In this respect, let’s wind things right back to the start and quickly discuss what virtualisation actually is and how VMware customers of today are seeing the benefits of products such as vSphere, Horizon View and vCloud Suite.
Put simply, virtualisation is taking servers and/or desktops (both Windows and Linux) and instead of running them on their own physical piece of tin, running them as a virtual instance on a physical infrastructure shared with other virtual machines. The operating system has no idea that it’s running virtualised, and to a large extent, the consumers of the services and applications on these servers have no idea they’re virtualised either.
<class=”separator”>The immediate benefit here is clear – many servers/desktops on a handful of physical servers immediately means cost savings. Power, cooling and even licencing to a degree (when using Windows Server Datacentre licencing, for example) are the “quick wins”, closely followed by the increase in productivity and agility as you now no longer have an extended procurement process when buying new hardware that can sometimes take weeks to months, even for “off the shelf” SKUs.
<class=”separator”>To take it a step further, existing services/applications on physical hardware can be converted to virtual machines and run in a dedicated datacentre run by a provider such as Frontline, where the services are still fully accessible and owned by you but are looked after by dedicated and skilled support staff, turning IT from a “spiky” capital expense to a more predictable operational expense.
<class=”separator”>“I would thoroughly recommend Frontline to take you comfortably through the whole process. We had no previous expertise at all with virtualisation, but were taken through the stages in layman’s terms before we began planning and implementing.”
<class=”separator”> – Ian Dando, IT Technical Manager, Frank Roberts & Sons Ltd
Once services and applications come into the virtual world, we can then layer on value added services such as streamlined backup (disk to tape to offsite), disaster recovery with Recovery Point Objective targets of a couple of minutes and application delivery from a central point, using virtual desktop technologies. The great thing here is that you can then choose what services you need on an a la carte basis – so for example you may elect to choose Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaas) for some SharePoint and SQL Servers, but not for some test and development virtual desktops, where downtime is less of a business critical issue for some customers.
This process needn’t be painful or “big bang” either – you can start by dipping a toe in the water by virtualising a couple of small load services such as file and print and scale as you become more confident with the technology to include real time applications such as Oracle or SQL. In fact, many businesses both large and small now only use physical servers by exception and it would be hard to find any new technology start-up company who aren’t 100% virtualised for their datacentre operations because of the cost savings, flexibility and agility it brings to operations.
In future blog posts I’ll go into VMware solutions in a little more detail, with typical use cases and where it might help your business succeed.
Virtualisation Case Study-
Click here to see how fourth generation family bakers, Frank Roberts & Sons reduced energy costs and improved business continuity through virtualisation-
If you have any questions about this blog, virtualisation or IT support in general, then get in contact with a member of the Frontline Team today.