If you’ve ever wondered why your servers can’t run both Windows and Mac apps, or why you need multiple servers at all, you probably haven’t heard of virtualization. It’s one of the best ways for small businesses to save money, cut down on IT clutter, and simplify technology management.
Our virtualization service page goes into more detail, but it gets pretty technical. Essentially, a virtualization solution means that one processor, one motherboard, one hard drive, and all the other parts that typically make up a standalone server, aren’t limited to just one server.
Say you want the hunk of metal humming away in the corner to run Apple’s operating system and Microsoft Windows simultaneously so the office can get the best of both worlds. Virtualization software can divvy up your hardware like slicing a pizza. One processor gets virtually cut down the middle, and presto! You’ve got two servers where you previously had one.
The money that would save you in hardware purchases and electricity bills already makes it worth the investment, but there’s a lot more you can do with virtualization.
Dynamic load balancing
Our service pages mention dynamic load balancing as a method for improving performance. Let’s stick with our pizza metaphor to clarify how this benefits small businesses. Imagine a group of people meet up at a pizza restaurant, but there isn’t a big enough table, so they split into smaller groups. One table eats only a couple slices, while another finishes everything they ordered and are still hungry. What makes more sense: ordering another pizza, or sharing with the neighboring table?
If your servers are the tables, and your apps are the individuals, dynamic load balancing is a waiter redistributing slices between tables. So it doesn’t matter if you put two power-hungry apps on the same server because dynamic load balancing intelligently redistributes hardware resources.
So if your virtual MacOS server is handling email tasks and there’s a spike in incoming and outgoing messages, dynamic load balancing might reallocate 75% of server capacity to emails, and temporarily lower your Windows-based file storage server to 25%. Without load balancing, they’d both be pegged at 50%.
This also carries over as you buy more servers. Virtualization software can pool together two physically separate servers and use dynamic load balancing to make sure one super hungry app has access to hardware from both servers.
If you really want to take the efficiency and cost savings up a notch, you’ll start slicing your server up into even smaller pieces. An email server might require more than 50% of your server’s power, whereas a single-user desktop requires less then 10%. This means you could carve up one server into 10 “virtual desktops,” and your employees could log into them from relatively inexpensive hardware. The computer physically sitting at their desk doesn’t do any of the work, it’s just a device that sends clicks and keystrokes to the slice of server hardware that has been reserved for them.
Rapid provisioning is something we like to mention because it’s a method for creating and deleting virtual desktops with barely any effort. It’s not something just anyone could do, but rapid provisioning makes it possible for our virtualization-certified technicians to set up a new virtual desktop for you in a matter of minutes.
The bottom line
Virtualization may be a complex subject, but you don’t need to fully understand it to enjoy some unbelievable benefits. Let’s review what those benefits are:
- Virtualization keeps your servers from being underutilized, meaning fewer hardware purchases, more office space, and lower utility bills
- Dynamic load balancing ensures server applications are flexible enough to handle unexpected surges in demand
- Virtual desktops move employee work off unsecure and unreliable computers and onto a centrally managed and monitored server
- Rapid provisioning makes adding, removing, or relocating employees’ IT systems a breeze
Charlotte and the rest of the state are expected to grow more than the national average this year, which means you need technology and support that can meet those demands faster than your competitors. Spectrumwise’s managed IT services and virtualization solutions are your key to affordable and scalable technology solutions, so why not give us a call today?