Once upon a time, large corporations began moving away from mainframe-based systems and started using servers and PCs instead. As technology improved and became more affordable, small and mid-sized businesses invested in servers. Today, even the smallest business has one computer that’s considered ‘mission critical,’ and would negatively impact the business if it failed.
One of the complications of computing software is its reliance on the specific computer hardware on which it is installed. For example, in the past, software files could not be copied from one computer to another with the expectation that they would automatically work. However, this changed with the introduction of “virtualization” in 1999.
Virtualization lets a computer operating system and software run independently of the hardware it uses. The actual physical computer is called the Host, and the computer instances that run on top of it are called Guests. With virtualization, we can now move entire computing systems from one physical box to another with ease. If the hardware is powerful enough, more than one computer can be run on the same physical box.
Apart from being a pretty cool technical trick, virtualization delivers real business benefits, such as:
Less downtime/Faster recovery time: In the event of a hardware failure, you can copy your virtual computer across to another physical box, start it up and away you go again. This can keep your business running while your original hardware is getting replaced or repaired. The only caveat is that a spare physical computer to copy is necessary, but that box can also perform another function (like serve as the bookkeeper’s PC) if it is powerful enough.
Software testing with no business impact: If your business software is being upgraded, take a copy of your virtual computer and run the upgrade on this test copy first. It will include all of your live business information, but enables the upgrade to happen during business hours with no impact to your staff and can prove that everything will go smoothly. When the test is successful, you will have more confidence about upgrading your real system.
Do more with less: If you run multiple pieces of software in your business, a second server may be necessary. Virtualization lets you run two servers on one powerful Host, which will allow you to save physical space and electricity consumption.
Under the covers of many cloud computing services, you will find virtualization. This helps Cloud providers isolate information and software programs from one client to another, using the same common piece of hardware. They can even spread the demand load from their clients across more than one Host during peak times, using hardware virtualization.
Talk to your Computer Troubleshooters rep about whether virtualization could benefit your business, or for any of your technology needs. 864-225-1888