Struggling with ways to extend the life of your mission critical control system applications? Worried about parts availability for that server you have running? Trying to get more utilization out of your investment in future server hardware purchases? Virtualization technology can provide a platform that allows you to meet these challenges and assist in reducing time to value for installing server OS based applications. Virtualization can also help reduce CapEx and OpEx costs through Information Infrastructure & Security. Review the top 5 business benefits of server virtualization and contact SMC Professional Services to talk with one of our engineers about how this technology might help your team.
Here’s just one example of how virtualization provided value to an SMC customer that wanted a system that met the unique requirements of automation and control applications.
Business challenge: We have many stand-alone HMI workstations running different versions of the HMI client application and are looking for a simpler and more cost effective approach to managing our applications and client operating systems.
Top 5 Business Benefits of Server Virtualization
Business solution: Investment in virtualization technology and hardware that would provide the foundation for future operations for managing the application and client hardware infrastructure.
Business benefits: Allowed customer to introduce the use of zero clients running ACP thin manager to allow for device management running on a server based virtual infrastructure in which application deliver was also made simpler through the use of server-based deployment via Citrix/RDS.
Virtualization is not just an IT trend. It is also not new, but it is new in many organizations, as companies of all sizes invest in virtualization technologies to reap it’s many benefits: server and desktop provisioning, reduction in physical servers, increased uptime and availability, better disaster recovery, energy savings…and the list goes on.
Switching to virtualization means that the workloads happening on servers are not tied to a specific piece of physical hardware and that multiple virtual workloads can occur simultaneously on the same piece of machinery. The immediate benefits of virtualization include higher server utilization rates in the and lower costs, but there are more sophisticated advantages as well.
Server virtualization has proven itself to be a revolutionary technology solution for IT management, presenting capabilities that would never be possible within a physical infrastructure. At an economic stance, the benefits of server virtualization are focused on cost savings because it allows multiple applications to be installed on a single physical server.
So how exactly can your company benefit from a virtual infrastructure? Let’s take a look at the top five ways:
1. Reduced Hardware Costs
It is said that humans theoretically only use 10% of their brain command; most of the servers in a strictly physical environment are heavily under-utilized, using an estimated 5-15% of their capacity. When you implement a virtualized server / cloud computing approach, hardware utilization is increased because one physical server can now hold multiple virtual machines. Applications no longer need their own server because each virtual machine on the physical server now runs them. In 2011, IDC reported a 40% reduction in hardware and software costs for IT departments that adopted a server virtualization strategy.
2. Faster Server Provisioning and Deployment
Server virtualization enables system provisioning and deployment within minutes, allowing you to clone an existing virtual machine without the hours and costs normally spent procuring and installing a new physical server. Companies with virtual environments already look back and cringe at the grueling process of filling out a purchase order, waiting for the server to arrive and then waiting hours for the operating system and applications to finish installing.
Time and cost add up substantially, not to mention the growing number of racks and cables you would have to purchase to accommodate for the increasing number of physical servers. Virtualization is most certainly necessary for most businesses to keep up with the explosion of data resources needed to keep pace with competitors.
3. Greatly Improved Disaster Recovery
Perhaps the greatest benefit of server virtualization is the capability to move a virtual machine from one server to another quickly and safely. Backing up critical data is done quickly and effectively because your company can effortlessly create a replication site. Most enterprise virtualization platforms contain software that helps automate the failover during a disaster. The software also allows you to test a disaster recovery failover—think of it as your data center’s own fire escape plan. If a data center disaster occurs, your infrastructure is already set up to take appropriate measures for a swift and safe recovery. Try achieving that with arrays of physical servers—now that’s a real disaster.
4. Increased Productivity
Having fewer physical servers means there are less of them to maintain and manage. As discussed in benefit #2, applications that used to take days or weeks to provision are now done in minutes. This leaves your IT/OT staff more time to spend on more productive tasks such as driving new business initiatives, cutting expenses and raising revenue.
5. Energy Cost Savings
Among other server virtualization benefits, the migration of physical servers to virtual machines allows you to consolidate them onto fewer physical servers. The result? Cooling and power costs are significantly reduced, which means not only will you be “going green,” but you will also have more green to spend elsewhere. According to VMware, server consolidation reduces energy costs by up to 80%. Another major plus is the ability to power down servers without affecting applications or users.
Server virtualization brings positive transformations, such as reduced hardware costs, improved server provisioning and deployment, better disaster recovery solutions, efficient and economic use of energy, and increased staff productivity. Still, it may seem like a daunting task to move to a virtual infrastructure, and without proper expertise it can be!
Contact SMC today to learn more about how Virtualization can benefit your specific operation. SMC professional services can help you assess, design, implement, or maintain your new or existing server infrastructure.