IT Support | Virtualize Your Small Business.
- by Jon, "Gingerbread", Pentecost
In the past, each server would be on its own box because hardware was cheap and there weren’t too many technologies around that would efficiently run multiple servers on a single system. You were able to have three or four servers, each doing a separate job (one for Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, another for E-mail, and a third for doing utility/maintenance or specialized task like database).
In today’s environment, you could have only two servers that run three virtual systems each that are replicating, as well as a fourth server that you can use for testing up-and-coming technologies without the need of purchasing additional hardware. Let’s explore just one example of how things used to be and how things are today.
Let’s say that you have your typical three servers. There is a problem and the motherboard on your main AD DS server gets fried. Depending on your configuration, there may be minimal issues with users logging in if one of your other servers also has AD running but all of their files are stored on the drives in the main server – big problem. You have to wait until you can get a replacement motherboard and install it as soon as it arrives – a day and a half minimum of downtime.
Now use the same scenario, except that you have two Hyper-V servers and all three of your servers are virtualized, properly replicating between Hyper-V hosts prior to the motherboard failure. Only a few system changes to point to alternate locations (at most, as in a complete replication scenario using DFS and Exchange DAG, there is complete fail-over capabilities) and users are back up in minutes. You can now casually order and install the motherboard in the failed server, as there is little downtime for your users.
Now let’s go over a couple environmental issues (especially with “Going Green” being a big push now). How much power are all three or four of those servers using to be on, let alone the battery backup units to power them and the air conditioning to keep them cool? Using only two servers, not as much power is used to have them running, not as much heat is generated, therefore less air conditioning is needed. Most likely, the servers are older too and are not running as efficiently as a new server would be. Need I go on?
One other great benefit of virtualizing your environment is that if you need to add storage space, it is much easier expanding the size of a .vhd, as opposed to expanding out a RAID configuration. Just add another drive or two to the host and then add that space to the .vhd of the server that is running out.
There are many more benefits that we don’t have time to go into, but if you are thinking of replacing at least one of your servers, maybe now is the time to start thinking of going virtual? Contact us to review our Small Business Solutions for Philadelphia or talk with us about our Philadelphia Area Managed IT Services Programs.