How To

3 Benefits of Virtualization for the Enterprise

Companies worldwide are in the midst of ongoing application modernization, thereby generating more data than one enterprise can manage with traditional infrastructure.

Therefore, It is necessary for modern organizations to understand and harness the benefits of virtualization for seamless application management.

Key Takeaways:

  • Virtualization reduces a company’s hardware burden by making it possible to perform the same tasks with fewer physical datacenter devices which leads to reduced energy consumption and environmental impact.
  • The use of virtual machines (VMs) can prevent disasters and make it easier to recover from disasters that do occur through the use of abundant snapshots.
  • Virtualization and cloud computing share a common structure, making it easier for organizations with existing virtualization practices to transition to the cloud.

The vast majority of enterprises are already using virtualization to some extent, but business leaders can make an informed decision on whether to invest more heavily in virtualization by understanding just how much it can benefit the company.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual version of an item that was once only physical. There are several benefits of virtualization, such as the ability to maximize the potential of a single piece of hardware by creating many VMs from its resources.

There are also many ways to utilize virtualization, leading to several common virtualization types:

  • Server virtualization
  • Data virtualization
  • Desktop virtualization
  • Network virtualization
  • Storage virtualization

The VMs created through the virtualization process are essentially duplicates of the underlying hardware itself. It is possible for many VMs to exist in one physical location. This means, for example, that one server can deliver application functions to hundreds of users or more by generating that same number of VMs.

All of this is possible due to the presence of a hypervisor. The hypervisor software is responsible for abstracting operating systems and hardware into VMs and then managing the allocation of memory, storage, and CPU power across all VMs. 

The hypervisor also ensures that VMs are separate from one another, therefore guaranteeing the security of the entire network even if one VM experiences malicious activity. However, this means that the hypervisor must be effective at single-handedly managing communications between all VMs.

Understanding the role of VMs and a hypervisor is only one step toward properly utilizing virtualization. It is equally important to know the three most fundamental benefits of virtualization.

1. Reduced hardware and operating costs

Minimizing hardware burden translates to reduced costs and a lower carbon footprint. The evolution of the hypervisor helps to achieve the modern datacenter by “duplicating” the hardware underneath, multiplying the efficacy of a single hardware item. One of the main reasons organizations use hypervisor technology is to achieve server virtualization, for example.

Virtualization minimizes the number of physical servers an organization needs. IT leaders can maximize a single server’s resources by creating multiple virtual servers from that single point of hardware. 

In addition to downsizing the amount of on-site hardware, organizations can also reduce overall usage of the hardware they do intend to keep. Virtualization enables a “use only what you need when you need it” approach and therefore lowers maintenance needs, downtime, and electricity overtime.

Virtual machines are also hardware-agnostic, meaning that it is possible to run any machine on any hardware. There is no need to keep multiple physical machines to accommodate several proprietary services when a single machine can accomplish everything through virtualization.

2. Disaster recovery

Disaster can strike an IT environment at any time in the form of natural incidents or malicious attacks. Another benefit of virtualization is that it greatly simplifies the backup aspect of disaster recovery (DR). Each VMs can take regular snapshots, ensuring that the most current data is always available.

Testing is another important consideration, not so much for DR but rather for disaster prevention. It is often preferable to test in a virtual environment so as to not affect the core hardware if an error occurs. Testing in a VMs also ensures easy access to snapshots for quick reversion.

When a disaster does occur, the high volume of snapshots available from various VMs enables a highly efficient recovery. There is always at least one recent snapshot from which to quickly get the VMs back up and running.

In a worst-case scenario in which an entire server dies or otherwise becomes unavailable, another benefit of virtualization is that it is a simple matter to redeploy on another hardware location using VM snapshots.

3. Cloud transformation

A fully virtualized environment is extremely similar in structure to a cloud environment. In fact, cloud computing relies on virtualization at its core. Adopting virtualization can prepare an organization for seamless cloud migration.

Virtual machines are highly flexible in a cloud environment, making it easy to deploy existing VMs in the cloud. Extending functionalities from the private on-premises datacenter to the public cloud in this way is the basis of a hybrid cloud environment that capitalizes on what both ecosystems have to offer.

Virtualization increases flexibility, agility, scalability, and performance both on-premises and in the cloud. Implementing virtualization at every level of enterprise makes IT operations more efficient and facilitates stronger cloud expansions.

Gartner projects that, by 2025, 51% of IT spending in a number of categories will shift from traditional solutions to the public cloud. This transition in a majority of IT enterprises indicates that many many organizations are looking to reduce on-premises hardware burden and to improve cost efficiency by turning to virtualization and the cloud.

For a deeper dive at how mixed infrastructure affects cloud costs, take a look at the 5th Annual Enterprise Cloud Index.

Reap the benefits of virtualization on a leading cloud platform

While the benefits of virtualization include reducing hardware burden, facilitating effective DR, and providing a smooth path to the cloud, it is not a given that all virtualization solutions will deliver on those benefits to the fullest. IT leaders need an excellent cloud platform that empowers the enterprise to capitalize on the maximum potential of virtualization.

The Nutanix Cloud Platform (NCP) provides a turnkey private cloud solution that includes Nutanix AHV as a modern and secure virtualization solution for enterprises at any scale. With a hypervisor that facilitates ease of management and low operational costs, companies can effectively utilize the full power of virtualization while meeting their service level agreements without hassle.

The AHV hypervisor also accommodates the hybrid multicloud design. This means that, as a matter of course, the hypervisor comes fully equipped to competently handle virtualization in the on-premises, public cloud, and multicloud settings.

Modern businesses can leverage the benefits of virtualization to manage the high volume of applications that are necessary to compete in the market. With Nutanix, it is possible to run apps and manage data anywhere with just a single platform.

Learn more about other ways to simplify data management in the cloud and how virtualization extends to virtual desktop infrastructure.

The Nutanix “how-to” info blog series is intended to educate and inform Nutanix users and anyone looking to expand their knowledge of cloud infrastructure and related topics. This series focuses on key topics, issues, and technologies around enterprise cloud, cloud security, infrastructure migration, virtualization, Kubernetes, etc. For information on specific Nutanix products and features, visit here.

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