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12G eBook 5 SMB Virtualization Strategies (1)

12G eBook 5 SMB Virtualization Strategies (1)

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Published by: blussiertt on May 10, 2012
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 5 SMB Virtualization Strategies
For years, large enterprises have exploited virtualization toincrease business agility, reduce capital expenditures andslash power and cooling costs. Yet smaller companies havelargely missed out on these benefits, because servers withadequate support for virtualization’s specialized workloadswere beyond their IT budgets. But a new generation of DellPowerEdge servers is changing the game, bringing the benefitsof virtualization within SMBs’ reach.
Table of Contents
One Application per Server: A Prescription for TroubleVirtualization Saves the Day5 Server Tactics for SMB VirtualizationSMB Virtualization Benefits A Server Foundation Designed to Fit About the Sponsors
One Application per Server: A Prescription for Trouble
The traditional approach to computer and networkinfrastructures led to a tremendous amount of complexity andwasted computing resources. Typically, each major application(email, Web, collaboration, database and so on) received itsown dedicated software and hardware. This singleapplication/single server approach arose to ensure that eachbusiness requirement had adequate resources, performanceand availability.However, avoiding that problem created another: Server andstorage capacities were grossly underutilized. According toGartner, average server utilization in a corporate data center ran between 15 and 20 percent in 2010.
McKinsey peggedserver utilization in many data centers at under 6 percent,while estimating that up to 30 percent of servers operate ateven lower utilization rates.
In other words, companies with a6 percent utilization rate pay for almost 17 times more capacitythan they need.Why not buy less capacity to better fit the workload? Part of the answer lies in peak demand. Computers are similar toenergy, water and telephone utilities in this regard; if you planonly for the average amount of work, the system won’t havethe capacity to satisfy all needs when demand spikes. Andpeak demand periods are exactly when businesses can’t affordan outage or any disruption of operations.
Virtualization Saves the Day
The problem of finding a balance between low utilization andaccommodating periods of high demand led directly tovirtualization. The true problem arose from the tight connectionbetween workloads and physical hardware.Virtualization breaks that bond with an additional layer of software that creates virtual machines, which allow applicationsto run without regard to specific physical machines. A virtualmachine gives each application access to shared CPUs,memory and storage. It doesn’t matter where the actualphysical resources are; the virtualization software takes care of finding and allocating the available capacity and managing theresources. A virtualized infrastructure turns a group of individual serversinto a pool of shared resources. Applications can get what theyneed when they need it from any idle resources available in thepool, much as a person might occasionally borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor. As virtualization has matured and developed over the past 15years or so, it has gained in business value and has becomemuch easier to implement and manage — a key advance for smaller organizations that have limited staff and resources.During this maturation period, server hardware benefitedfrom Moore's Law, an observation that the number of transistors that fit on an integrated circuit double roughlyevery two years. What that means more practically is thatcomputing capacity and power have steadily increasedwhile price per performance has decreased. For example, the latest generation of servers is designed tooffer three to five times more processing and memory, aswell as three to 10 times more internal storage and I/O,than servers offered a few years ago. These factorsinfluence the number of virtual machines a singlephysical server can support.In general, the more virtual machines per physical server,the greater the degree of utilization a company canachieve, boosting the benefits it can realize (althougheven a virtual environment requires some capacityheadroom in case of a failover requirement or spikes indemand).Companies that might not have benefited fromvirtualization in the past due to the expense of buying thenecessary servers can now consider adopting thetechnology because the cost per unit of performance hasdropped significantly — and more business computingtasks, such as sales transactions, databases lookups,financial analyses and customer management can beaccomplished with fewer servers overall.

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