Say Yes to Virtualization: Server virtualization helps businesses achieve considerable reductions in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

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1 BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Say Yes to Virtualization: Server virtualization helps businesses achieve considerable reductions in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Virtualizing servers is yielding dramatic cost savings through consolidation of physical resources, reductions in power and cooling requirements, and slashed operational expenses. In fact, it is delivering a magnitude of benefits that many businesses find virtually amazing. By sharing the resources of a single server across multiple environments, virtualization essentially allows one server do the job of multiple devices. Virtual servers can host multiple operating systems and applications locally and in remote locations, eliminating physical and geographical barriers. By consolidating servers, an enterprise can increase the utilization of its existing hardware from 10-or- 15 percent up to 80 percent. This is while reducing hardware requirements by a 10-to-1 ratio or better, according to research from VMware. There are a lot of upfront costs savings, confirms Joe Leung, worldwide program manager for HP s ProLiant Business Advantage. The technology also allows firms to save server room space over the long run. In addition to reducing capital expenses and promoting energy savings due to more efficient use of hardware resources, virtualization helps facilitate high availability of resources, increased security and even improved disaster-recovery processes. Physical Consolidation First and foremost, virtualization allows businesses to easily migrate from an underutilized, overprovisioned physical environment to a virtual setting. This allows for fewer and more reliable machines. Virtualization allows you to do more with the servers you have, reveals Jon Bock, senior manager of product marketing for VMware. They can bring relief to server sprawl which can put a strain on a firm s power and space capabilities. While small servers often average 20 percent or less in terms of utilization, virtualization makes it possible to achieve significantly higher rates. This is done by pooling common infrastructure resources. You can take four or 15 or even 20 physical servers with their own operating systems and put them onto a single physical server, explains Tyler Carter, product marketing manager for Citrix s XenServer line. It can be a comparable CPU but a lot more memory. As a result, businesses can reap tremendous savings in hardware costs more than $3,000 per year for every server workload virtualized. The end result can be an overall reduction of as much as 50 percent in combined hardware and operating costs, according to VMware findings. Even more, virtualization preserves valuable space in data center environments. It can also be used to extend the life of an existing data center. In the past, an organization s expansion typically necessitated an increase in the number of stand-alone servers, storage devices and applications. Such a hardware explosion not only results in enormous inefficiency and expense, but also occupies significant real estate on the data center floor. A lot of customers simply run out of space, notes VMware s Bock. However, by reducing the number of devices through virtualization, companies are discovering that less is more. The resulting consolidation provides a welcome solution to shrink the data center footprint. 1

2 With virtualization, you can take 100 servers and run them on 10, explains Bock. Suddenly, you ve freed up a lot of space in the data center. We ve seen customers delay, postpone or even cancel their data center expansion plans by using virtualization. Power and Cooling Expenses Today s rising electricity costs, shrinking power supplies, and mounting social and economic pressure to go green are forcing companies of all shapes and sizes to rethink their IT strategies. For a growing number, server virtualization holds the keys to effectively meet these challenges. Recent research from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) underscores that fact. The firm found that organizations resoundingly believe server virtualization will have the single greatest impact on reducing power consumption in the data center. In fact, they say it will have twice the impact of developing more energy-efficient physical server technologies. Not surprising, consolidating the number of hardware devices required to run the same number of applications can lead to appreciably lower power and cooling requirements. While the ratio of virtual machines to physical servers will vary depending on the virtualization technology used, the type and scalability of deployed physical servers, and user-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs), a 5-to-1 reduction is typical. When you consider powering and cooling as many as 80 percent fewer physical servers, that translates to potentially hefty savings to the bottom line. We re seeing customers save up to 60 percent in power and cooling, confirms Bock. Belt Tightening Server virtualization also yields tremendous savings when it comes to simplifying the deployment and ongoing maintenance of equipment, freeing up staffing resources and allowing IT personnel to focus their energies elsewhere. By offering a new way of managing IT infrastructure, virtualization can help administrators spend less time on repetitive tasks. These include such things as provisioning, configuration, monitoring and maintenance. Considering the various network connectivity requirements, a typical traditional server will take one to two days to fully provision, according to HP s Leung. However, with a virtual device, the deployment time drops to just one to two hours, he says. Indeed, VMware found that virtualization reduces the amount of time it takes to provision new servers by up to 70 percent. You spend less time installing and configuring, and less money on networking, storage infrastructure and connectivity, Bock points out. With virtualization, you don t have to physically place the server in the rack, Citrix s Carter adds. There is no cabling on the back end, there are no network connections. Even more, IT personnel have the ability to generate templates that enable the rapid deployment of applications. Administrators can easily create a single image, so the deployment of applications is much easier, Carter explains. Moving from the physical to the virtual world also eases ongoing service tasks, with fewer devices to update and patch. The flexibility afforded by virtualization with its capacity to quickly and easily move workloads can even place IT administrators on a more traditional work schedule. When the only time you have to perform maintenance is that midnight or weekend window, then [personnel] have to come in and do it then, Carter acknowledges. Because virtual machines can be migrated to a different server when needed, IT administrators have the option of performing maintenance on a device even during peak hours, with no downtime. 2

3 Virtualization solutions can also help simplify an organization s overall IT infrastructure. A lot of midsized businesses are very resource-constrained, notes HP s Leung. They have fewer specialists and their IT staffs tend to be more generalized. As a result, personnel may have difficulty effectively managing various server assets. That can lead to downtime for critical systems and business operations. Furthermore, virtualization lets organizations expand their systems without bolstering their staff. As your environment grows, you don t need 10 more administrators to keep up with that growth, VMware s Bock points out. High Availability As pressure mounts on organizations to meet SLAs, eliminate planned downtime and recover quickly from unplanned outages, an increasing number are finding relief in virtualization. If you want to lower total cost of ownership through higher capability servers, then you must also have high availability, emphasizes Andy Wachs, marketing manager for virtualization for IBM s Systems and Technology Group. High availability allows users to access a system to complete their work as needed. With high availability, it is expected that workers can access the system because it is put together to ensure a high degree of operational continuity. Server virtualization delivers, providing the ability for a company to securely back up and migrate entire virtual environments with no interruption in service. It can significantly reduce the costs of meeting SLAs and high availability, Bock confirms. Disaster Recovery Another area where server virtualization is quickly gaining appeal is its contribution to disaster-recovery initiatives. These typically carry a hefty price tag and level of complexity, not to mention extensive idle hardware. It s very expensive and requires a huge upfront investment, Leung acknowledges of disaster recovery. [In a traditional setting], you may need to buy 20 servers, all of which will be underutilized. With conventional solutions, the ability to execute the fastest and most reliable recovery requires the duplication of the entire production infrastructure. Using virtualization, an organization is able to gain rapid and reliable recovery without requiring identical hardware. Through consolidation, businesses can slash the cost of server infrastructure needed, both for production and disaster recovery. With server virtualization, you can have less hardware at the physical site, and easier failover and recovery, says Carter. You can replicate a disaster-recovery environment of 20 servers with just three machines, adds Leung. Even more, the expense associated with traditional disaster-recovery efforts often forces businesses to only protect the most critical applications. This may leave a number of other areas vulnerable. With virtualization, many organizations are able to expand the scope of their disaster recovery and at the same time, simplify the process, Carter reveals. Virtualization can also help to ease the data-recovery process. Because traditional solutions tend to entail numerous steps that can be difficult to automate, the practice tends to be slow, complex and prone to human error. Virtualization, on the other hand, opens the door to automated disaster recovery, subsequently increasing reliability and availability. 3

4 The VMware solution proved to be the key to Safeco Insurance reducing the operational costs of its disaster-recovery plan from nearly $1 million annually to less than $100,000 per year using virtualization technologies, according to Bock. Even if an organization hasn t virtualized its production servers, assigning virtualized target servers for disaster recovery can provide greater simplicity, reliability and cost savings. And improving the recovery time of the applications can be one of the real payoffs of server virtualization. New Technologies From integrating virtualization software directly into servers, to bolstering management capabilities and the scope of available tools, server virtualization is showing no signs of slowdown. However, when it comes to initial implementation, Leung says there are a number of perceived barriers related to the complexity and costs involved with server virtualization. Unfortunately, this stops a lot of midsized businesses from initiating server virtualization, he says. As a result, manufacturers are making efforts to address these concerns and further ease the process for organizations. HP, for instance, recently introduced ProLiant ivirtualization, which facilitates a fast and simple turnkey approach to virtualization. With the purchase of a ProLiant server, HP offers customers a choice of Citrix XenServer or VMware ESXi 3.5, which is shipped on a USB key that is preinstalled in the server s internal USB port. Because the system boots directly from the USB key, the new servers are ready to run the virtualized application right out of the box. ivirtualization significantly knocks down the barriers, says Leung. It simplifies the process. IBM has responded to the call by integrating software into its System x and BladeCenter servers. Many models are available with bundled ESXi embedded on the server, providing immediate integrated virtualization capabilities. Users simply power up the IBM server and deploy virtual machines in a matter of minutes. With integrated virtualization, you have the ability to more quickly initiate a new virtual server, IBM s Wachs says. Do The Math: See just how much you can bolster the bottom line with server virtualization. Server virtualization can make an organization really see green and we re not talking about the technology s impressive energy savings. Significant cost savings can be achieved by journeying into the virtual world. HP compared the cost of maintaining an infrastructure of 20 physical servers with the cost required to consolidate the same environment with three ProLiant ivirtualization servers running 20 virtual machines. The company found that over a three-year period, a customer deploying a completely physical environment would have to spend an average of $57,640 on new servers, plus $8,000 in provisioning costs, and around $48,000 in power and cooling charges. Conversely, an organization that consolidated through virtualization would spend $25,566 on the new virtualized servers, $1,500 on virtualization software, $800 on provisioning, and $20,000 on power and cooling over the same three-year cycle. The end result? The customer that chose server virtualization would pocket $65,474 over three years. It is easy being green. 4

5 The Virtualization Prescription Server adoption rates have grown so rapidly that many firms today are forced to deal with a myriad of issues, each of which can be remedied via virtualization. These include: Increased Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Server Proliferation Low Server Utilization Inefficient Server Hardware Migration Inefficient Application Server Deployment High-Availability Complexity Disaster-Recovery Complexity Licensing Complexity Power and Cooling Inefficiency CDW s Server Specialists can show you what virtualization can do to simplify management of your network infrastructure. CALL CDW to talk to a specialist today

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