Businesses have been using on-premises servers for decades because they provide some key benefits. For example, they’re easy to secure, and companies can run an internal network easily.
Virtualization has even more benefits. While you can use virtualization with your on-premises servers, you probably don’t have top-of-the-line infrastructure, so you won’t get the full benefits.
What is server virtualization?
There are three types of virtualization: full virtualization, para-virtualization, and OS-level virtualization. Although these slightly differ, in general, it’s the process of partitioning a physical server into isolated servers using software like VMWare. The result is essentially the same as having multiple physical servers but without the additional administrative burdens.
Here are several reasons to trade your on-premises servers for virtualization through an offsite data center.
- You don’t have to do the setup work
The first benefit you’ll get from switching to offsite server virtualization is not having to do the work. You can hire an IT team to design, implement, and operate your virtual data center. A professional team will help you pinpoint what you need and create the solution using state-of-the-art systems and technologies.
If you had to set up your on-premises servers, you probably remember the process being long and tedious. If the thought of making more changes feels like too much work, remember that you can hire out the task and get all the benefits of virtualization without lifting a finger.
- You can run multiple virtual servers from one server
If you need to have separate servers, virtualization makes this possible without actually using multiple physical servers. After partitioning a server, virtualization is used to create individual, separate servers on each partition. As “virtual servers,” each partition can run a completely independent operating system, which means you can use that server in a variety of different ways.
By creating virtual machines, you don’t have to operate as many physical servers to achieve the same goals. Your intranet and website can be on the same physical server, yet you can use Linux for your website and a Windows server to power your intranet.
- Server virtualization saves money
When you don’t have a bunch of physical servers, your electricity bills will be cheaper. Going with server virtualization over on-premises servers will save you plenty of money over time. If you go with a managed solution, your electricity will be included in the monthly fee. Even if you run your own data center and are responsible for paying all the bills, cutting down on the number of servers you operate will save you a significant amount of money.
- Independent environments
Having separate virtual servers running independent operating systems is especially useful when your IT team needs to test software without worrying about impacting the entire server.
For instance, your developers can run as many tests as they want in one partition, and if that server crashes, your intranet, website, or other digital resources won’t be affected.
- Resell affordable web hosting
If you have clients who need web hosting, you can provide hosting to them for far less than it would cost if you had to provision individual servers for each client. If you wanted, you could offer resale hosting as a standard option with your client services.
Maybe you’ve never hosted a client’s website and aren’t sure why it would be of benefit. Sometimes it’s easier to work on a client’s website and their cloud-based applications when you have full control of that server, including shell access, and the ability to manually reboot when necessary. You can control the software used to access the back end and keep PHP updated automatically, which makes simple tasks fast and easy. When you don’t have full control, you have to contact their webhost to get what you need first, which can turn a 2-minute task into a week-long process.
Isn’t cloud computing enough?
If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably already using cloud servers. Cloud computing and server virtualization differ. Cloud computing uses virtualization to provision resources to clients on demand, but the service itself is not virtualization.
For example, if your website is hosted on a cloud-based server, you’ll be given additional CPU resources on-demand to manage the influx of traffic for a holiday promotion. However, it doesn’t automatically give you the ability to deploy virtualization for your own purposes.
Server virtualization is often included in cloud packages, but it’s not necessary for everyone. If you’re curious but not sure you need server virtualization, speak with an IT pro to discuss your situation.