Advantages of Virtualization

To get understanding of the advantages of virtualization, we must first understand some of the key reasons for prevailing IT inefficiency. Businesses spend as much as 65-70% of their IT budgets in ongoing operations and maintenance of systems / equipment and thus are left with a small fraction for new investments . Reduction of this expenditure can help firms to not only reduce their IT expenditure but also to take-up new initiatives. Three main challenges stand in between executing this change:

  1. Bad utilization and consolidation of systems, for example according to research, average utilizations of servers are between 10-15% and hugely underutilized most of the times
  2. Cost of management for all the different applications installed, high administration costs, time spent over handling contingencies
  3. Design of applications are inflexible – tough to scale up

This is where virtualization comes in picture. The key advantages of virtualization are:

  1. Cost savings:

    • Virtualization decreases the need of servers, hardware devices and data centers thus decreasing the capex and maintenance cost but also reducing the power consumption bill.
    • Server consolidation and benefits: Server consolidation not only reduces the requirement of physical servers but also operating costs such as electricity bills and supporting infrastructure build-up. While the electricity bill might seem to be a significant benefit, but it is as electricity is not only used to run the server but also to cool it down. According to an estimate, every 1 kW IT load translates into USD 12,000 of costs!
  2. Increase in administrator productivity:

    • Administrators have comparatively less number of emergencies to take care of as virtualization take care of many such situations (spike, hardware failure, etc.) itself.
    • As business applications are centrally maintained, they can be maintained, updated and upgraded from a single location for all the users. Virtualization of OS also eliminates need of physical presence / attention to solve most of the IT issues.
  3. Flexibility and agility:

    • Routine and repetitive tasks (configuration, upgrades) can be undertaken by fewer servers
    • Reducing time-to-market of applications, for example by reducing development and testing, enable quick deployment of resources to new locations / offices (for market expansion)
  4. Bussing continuity and disaster recovery:

    • Business continuity: System migration is made easier for desktops, servers and mobile devices.
    • Maintenance down-time is reduced: Virtual image can be used to maintain continuity while physical server is maintained.
    • Disaster recovery: Duplication of critical servers, data, etc. is easier and less expensive (no physical duplicates are required to be maintained for disaster recovery purposes). Same is the case with desktops; a user need not worry if desktop crashes in case applications are virtualized.
    • Running virtual machines (VMs) from anywhere: As they are portable VMs can run from anywhere, especially in case of a disaster recovery situation.