Data Center Virtualization has several benefits such as increased hardware utilization, centralized management, and easier disaster recovery. It can also be a costly endeavor, and there are some drawbacks to consider as well.
A key benefit of consolidating physical locations is that it reduces operational and maintenance costs. It also helps to reduce the number of leases, which decreases CAPEX costs and the quantity of equipment needed to maintain the data center. Consolidation also reduces the number of spare parts needed, as fewer vendors means fewer parts to be ordered.
Servers can be over-consolidated, even the most powerful servers are not without their limits, and virtualization makes it easier to overload servers and compromise performance. Over-consolidation can lead to server crashes and degrade application performance and workload migration capabilities. Some organizations push servers beyond their limit to try to maximize resource utilization, which can reduce application performance and energy consumption. Without effective policies to control VM provisioning, servers could crash.
Disaster recovery is as easy as powering up virtual machines in many cases. With virtual machines, there is no need to replicate data from the primary site to the backup site. Disaster recovery in the cloud happens in minutes. Virtual machines can be moved to another location in case a disaster strikes. Data center virtualization makes disaster recovery much simpler than ever.
Storage area networks (SAN) and network-attached storage, or NAS, are both good options for virtualization of data centers. SANs offer block-level access to data and scale across servers and networks. These networks use advanced technologies, such as VLANs on shared networks and dedicated switches. NAS appliances use protocols such as SCSI to access data and media.
SANs and NAS work well for data center virtualizationas they enable organizations to centrally control and scale storage and performance. SANs are typically architected as three-layer networks, with the first layer serving as the host and the second one housing the storage. The fabric provides a common interface that allows the storage devices to communicate with one another and share resources.
IT administrators should monitor their VMs’ performance regularly to avoid VM sprawl. In order to prevent VM sprawl, administrators should perform a VM audit periodically to identify orphaned or inactive VMs. IT teams should use a virtualization monitoring tool to analyze these metrics and make appropriate management decisions. They should create an inventory of all VMs and update it regularly. To ensure proper performance of VMs, IT administrators should create snapshots of each VM and categorize them based on a defined set of criteria. This can help IT administrators identify idle and over-allocated VMs.
Aside from increasing costs, VM sprawl affects businesses in multiple ways. It consumes precious resources, storage is cheaper, and VMs require resources. Even though they don’t occupy physical space, they take up lots of disk space, causing your storage to become full very quickly. This causes additional costs, degraded performance, and a large attack surface. To reduce the risk associated with VM sprawl, adopt standardization, use proper administration tools, and verify that is enough network storage.
Data centers are becoming increasingly fluid and dynamic. This new computing environment creates multiple layers of complexity, and this has implications for data center security. Rather than waiting until the need arises to implement new measures, organizations should bake security into the design of the data center.
A hypervisor is a software-based virtualization system that abstracts operating systems and applications from the underlying hardware. The virtual machine runs on a host computer and doesn’t know it’s virtual. It manages resources by issuing commands to a simulated hardware. Hypervisors are commonly supported in virtualization software. Depending on the implementation, they can enable server consolidation and virtualization in a data center.
There are several benefits to implementing a hypervisor for data center virtualization. Hypervisors isolate guest OS’s and applications from hardware. Hypervisors enable a single host to operate multiple virtual machines (VMs), each with its own independent OS and data. Hypervisor makes VMs portable, allowing the host to move or migrate VMs with minimal downtime.