I was on a popular Electronic Medical Records (EMR) forum earlier and one of the other users asked an interesting question:
Why should I virtualize my servers?
Virtualization is the process whereby Windows can be installed on a new server and then can be installed again up to a set number of times (depending on licensing) on top of the base installation. This, in effect, allows several copies of Windows to be run on one physical server at one time. But, again, why do this?
1. It makes backup so, so, so much easier. Rather than backing up a bare metal install where every little file has to be accounted for, the backup software has to deal with only the virtual disk and the half dozen settings file of the virtual machine. It's also much more efficient for offsite backup.
2. It makes restoring from backup so, so, so much easier. Rather than restoring thousands of files, you restore one virtual disk. DONE.
3. You can checkpoint a virtual machine. What this means is let's say you want to install a new software but you aren't sure about it. Create a checkpoint of the virtual machine of the current state. If you install the software and it falls apart, revert back to the checkpoint. DONE. System back online the exact way it was before the install messed it up.
4. Much more efficient use of resources. You get better utilization of hardware (CPU, RAM especially) which means more bang for the buck.
5. Upgrading hardware becomes so, so, so much easier. Set up new server. Install base OS. Enable Hyper-V. Migrate virtual machines over. DONE. No more re-installing all your applications just to get a new server. No more all-or-nothing upgrades where you have to do the hardware and OS at the same time because the older OS won't run on the newer hardware.
6. You can separate applications that have different requirements but still keep them on the same physical server. For example, it's not a good idea to have Exchange and SQL Server on the same installation of Windows. Before, that meant two physical boxes. Today, I can still separate them into two different installs but still keep them on the same box. SAVINGS.
So, yes, there are very good reasons to virtualize. It really makes no sense to do otherwise.
Need some help with an old bare-metal server upgrade? Do you want to go virtual? Let's see if we can help!