Linux Containers Authors: Derek Weeks, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, TJ Randall, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Virtualizing Your Data Center — What's Involved

Choices of virtualization software allow you to run dozens of virtual servers with fewer CPU resources

Virtualization offers cost-value, performance and security benefits by reducing hardware costs, providing virtualized applications that you can reconfigure easily and meeting all regulatory and compliance guidelines. You don't need to make a prohibitive capital investment, and easy expansion into cloud storage and new technologies means that you have virtually limitless scalability.

You can use one physical server to run multiple virtual servers, which drastically reduces equipment costs and operating expenses. Most servers today have more multitasking capabilities than most hosting applications use, and installing a multicore server allows you connect four, six or 12 cores to a single CPU. Choices of virtualization software allow you to run dozens of virtual servers with fewer CPU resources. If you use two or more servers for business, then switching to virtual servers helps you meet the challenges of cooling server rooms, containing costs and upgrading computing capacity as hosting demands increase.

Best Practices for Installing Virtual Servers
Eliminate as many servers as possible to enjoy maximum virtualization benefits, but make practical decisions based on your business circumstances. Don't risk breaching long-term maintenance contracts to virtualize your servers. You can take advantage of free tools from vendors that provide assessments of your hardware and software needs without committing to any single hardware or software solution. Other best practices when going virtual include the following ideas:

  • Ensure that the software applications you use are compatible with virtual software.
  • Some virtualization platforms may prove incompatible with older server hardware, so find out if your existing hardware can handle the job.
  • Choose a hypervisor program that meets your specific business needs.
  • Repurpose or sell redundant servers and hardware to generate greater cost savings.
  • Arrange thorough training for maintenance staff so that they can operate efficiently in a virtual environment.
  • More cores in servers provide better performance than higher speeds, so choose a 12-core server over a faster, four-core or six-core model.
  • Regardless of server, more RAM always proves beneficial, so get adequate RAM for your computing needs.

Virtualization Benefits

Virtual servers reduce maintenance and cooling risks and costs, help you reclaim rack space and allow you to deploy new virtual servers rapidly. Key benefits include the following windfalls for your business:

Save Resources and Lower Costs - Reducing the number of servers saves energy, reduces maintenance expenses and streamlines server-room design. Servers generate enormous heat, and keeping them cool causes security risks and the need for expensive cooling equipment and monitoring. Using virtual servers reduces your carbon footprint, a key consideration for many people.

  1. Create Backups Easily - Physical servers generate risks of downtime and catastrophic failure, and recovery efforts depend on many factors including availability of a backup server, recovery of data and redeployment of server arrays. You can maintain multiple backup copies of virtual servers that can be brought online in minutes.
  2. Test New Technology Safely - Use virtual environments for testing new technology, applications and software independently of other company operations in case something goes horribly wrong. You can isolate testing from regular computing activity and deploy innovations only after they've been debugged.
  3. Avoiding Common Mistakes of Virtualization
    Common mistakes of virtualization include the misconception that only free space is necessary. Storage is critical, but make informed decisions based on precise measurements and assessments of drive latency, growth patterns, traffic spikes and IOPs.
  • Plan carefully to balance hardware components, manage capacity and automate processes to get the best ROI.
  • Assess bandwidth requirements and security protocols for each type of data.
  • Stagger computing load to prevent massive drains on any single server.
  • Remember to plan for outages, redundancy and minimizing downtime.
  • Get enough storage capacity to optimize writing and migrating large caches of data swiftly and securely.

Transitioning between traditional servers and virtual computing generates some practical problems, but these are easily solved by researching and testing virtual hardware and software, planning your server configuration carefully and determining whether your old servers are compatible with virtual technologies.

Virtual servers simplify IT administration, hosting, security and maintenance tasks. You can use virtual servers for your entire data center, or begin by virtualizing a simple file server. Use virtual environments to test and assess new technology without compromising core functions. You can simplify management of your data center by installing the right virtual server technology for your needs and save money on both hardware and operational costs.

What virtual server technology are you currently using? How do you like it? Tell us in the comments below.

More Stories By Matt Smith

Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...