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August 16th, 2014

Virtualization_Aug11_BWhile there are numerous tech systems available to small and medium size businesses, one of the most useful has proven to be virtualisation. This movement of physical systems to a virtual counterpart offers many benefits when implemented correctly. Administered poorly however and you could see systems fail. To help avoid this, it is worthwhile being aware of five common ways virtualisation fails.

1. Migration is forced before it is ready

One of the biggest reasons virtualisation fails is that it is pushed before the company is ready for it. For example, it could be that the IT team is forced to fast-track virtualisation, resulting in staff being forced to drop all other tasks and focus on migration.

If you rush, the chances of failure and mistakes always rise. And when it comes to changing systems from physical to virtual, mistakes can be compounded, thus increasing overall migration time and costs.

To avoid this you should take the time to conduct research on solutions available, workloads, applications to the move, and your specific business needs. Once you are across this, you should also take the time to get to know your systems and test them before migration.

2. Trying to implement a management plan after virtualising systems

Some companies decide to virtualise first, and then try to figure out how to manage systems after migration is complete. This will almost always result in inefficiencies and frustration as the pressure is on not just to learn how to manage but also how to use this solution.

In order to see a more successful virtualisation, you should have a management plan in place before you migrate your systems. You should look at how virtual machines will be managed, who will be doing what, as well as what systems you are going to use, and more. One of the best times to develop an overall management plan is when you are in the testing phase, well before actual migration. This will give you an idea of how systems will work in reality and how you can manage them.

3. Virtualisation without employee buy-in, or involving employees

We have seen companies implement a virtualisation solution without having full buy-in from the employees who will be using and managing the system. What this results in is confusion, resentment, lost efficiency, and, in some extreme situations, sabotage.

In order to successfully introduce a virtualised solution, you should ensure that all employees who will be using the system are not only aware of it but are trained on how to use it and have been given a fair chance to air their opinions. If you can achieve employee buy-in, there is a better chance that the systems will be used more effectively, and employees will be more open to other solutions being implemented.

4. Assuming one solution that works for others will work for you

An easy mistake to make is to only consider solutions successfully implemented by other businesses. The fact is, every business is different, and you should be looking for a solution that meets your specific needs.

If you go with a ready-made solution, or one-size-fits-all solution, it will likely work to some extent. However, there is a good chance that it will not completely meet your needs. This will likely result in either lost efficiency or increased investment in order to get what you need.

We recommend looking for a provider who can meet your virtualisation needs with tailor made solutions. This way you will get what you need straightaway and likely not need to invest more in the future.

5. Not managing your virtual solution after implementation

Unlike some tech solutions, virtualisation is not really a ‘set it and forget it’ type of solution. You will need to manage it from the start if you want to be able to get the most out of your systems. This includes ensuring resources are being allocated properly; machines are created and shut down properly; apps and systems are updated; and more.

While virtualised solutions do require less management than their physical counterparts, they still require some management and you will need people to help you do that. One of the best solutions is to work with an IT partner like us who can help manage your systems and ensure that they are working efficiently.

In fact, we offer a wide variety of virtualisation solutions. By working with us, we can help take some of the virtualisation load off and allow you to focus on running your business. If you would like to learn more, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
July 19th, 2014

Virtualization_July14_BVirtualization is the act of moving a physical component or bit of software from a physical environment to a digital one that is normally delivered over a network. This concept has become one of the most sought after tech improvements of the past decade, especially among small to medium businesses. The only problem is, virtualization is complex and carries with it some confusing terminology. To make things easier, we have created a glossary of ten common virtualization terms.

1. Virtual Machine (VM)

You will often hear virtualization experts bandy about the term VM. What they are talking about when they say this is the Virtual Machine. The VM is essentially a virtual representation of the computer on your desk. It can do everything a physical machine does, only everything is virtual and usually delivered over a network connection.

Because VMs are software based, you can often run more than one VM on the same physical machine. This could equate to having say two separate versions of Windows running at the same time, or even running a different operating system, say Windows on your MacBook.

2. Virtual server

A specific type of VM, in this case a server, that is running in a virtual environment. A common setup many offices employ is to have one physical server on premise. This server then hosts separate virtual servers that in turn host different services like email, networking, storage, etc.

Other businesses choose to rely completely on virtual servers. This is where another company hosts the servers which are delivered to you over the Internet. To the computers and users it appears the servers are there on your network, and can be interacted with normally when in truth, the servers are actually virtual.

3. Virtual desktop

Much like the virtual server, the virtual desktop is a specific type of VM. In this case, it is a virtually delivered version of an operating system like Windows, Linux or even OS X.

Since the advent of virtual desktops, the idea that companies have to stick with one type of operating system has started to become irrelevant. For example, if you own a Mac and need to access a Windows only program, one solution is to use a virtual version of Windows. If you have access to one, you will be able to run Windows from your Mac without having to physically install it on your computer.

4. Hypervisor

The hypervisor is essentially a small operating system that enables virtualization. Its job is to take physical hardware resources and combine them into a platform that is then delivered virtually to one, or many different users.

5. Host system

The host system, also referred to as the parent, is where the physical hardware and software is installed. These physical components are then copied by the hypervisor and delivered in a virtual state to the user. If you are creating a virtual desktop environment, then the host system will have the desktop's OS installed on it, along with the necessary software.

6. Guest system

The guest system, also referred to as the child, is where the VM is accessed. To carry the example on from above, the OS that is installed on the host machine is replicated by the hypervisor and the copy is then delivered to the user.

The user can interact with the OS just as they would with the physical host machine, because the guest system is an exact copy of the host. The only difference is, the guest machine is virtual instead of physical.

7. Virtual Infrastructure

When you combine a bunch of different types of VMs together into one solution, including hardware, storage, desktops, and servers you create a virtual infrastructure.

This can then be deployed to businesses who are looking for a completely virtualized solution. The easiest way to think of this is that your whole IT infrastructure is combined into one solution and virtualized. Many companies look for a solution like this because it reduces the need for on-premise hardware, while making it easier for an IT partner to manage.

8. P2V

P2V, or Physical to Virtual, is a term used by IT experts to refer to the act of migrating a physical system to a virtual one. The most common example of P2V is the merging of physical servers into a virtual environment that is hosted on one server.

9. Snapshot

A snapshot is an image of the state of the virtual machine at a specific point of time. This includes all of the data, configurations, and even windows or programs open at that time. Snapshots are used kind of like the Save button on video games - it saves your progress. When you next load up the VM, you will get all of your data, programs, and configurations back.

Snapshots are also kept in case something goes wrong with the VM. You can easily revert back to an older snapshot, one that was taken before the problem.

10. Clone

The action of taking one VM and creating an exact copy that can then be used by another computer or user.

If you are looking to learn more about virtualization, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 19th, 2014

virtualization_June17_BIn some cases, the value proposition that server virtualization offers business owners is a no-brainer. But for others, it might not be advisable. The real question is how do I identify if server virtualisation will save my business money? To make sure that you are fit to reap all the benefits of a virtual server, you must first make sure that server virtualisation is right for your business.

10 ways to identify if server virtualisation will save you money:

  1. Expert IT personnel: Some small businesses don’t have an IT person on the payroll, or if they do, that person deals with tasks such as security or desktop management which often means they are ill-equipped to deal with the technological sophistication that virtualisation demands. If you don’t have an IT expert, virtualising might not be right for you.
  2. Technology as core competence: If your company’s core competence is technology, or if you have lots of servers which require abundant storage and skilled IT veterans, server virtualisation is sure to help save your company money. Not only will you improve on storage efficiency, but you won’t have a payroll replete with lots of IT personnels.
  3. Busy servers: If your servers are taking up floor, rack or shelf space, or if they are dedicated to particular applications; your business is likely to save money through server virtualisation. Moreover, if your server equipment is aging, server virtualisation might help with significant server consolidation, meaning fewer servers, lower power bills and more floor space, too.
  4. Sensitive applications: Note that not all applications do well in virtual environments. Some critical or sensitive applications require a lot of processor or memory resources and you don’t want them sharing those resources with other virtual servers. Find out about your applications performance needs, if they’re not sensitive they may be ripe for a virtual server.
  5. Shared storage: Some people will tell you that virtual servers must have a virtual storage, however those themes usually come from vendors whose livelihoods are tied to virtual storage. If your business focuses on having a centralised storage that is shared between users, virtualisation can be very beneficial.
  6. Speed of deployment: Some businesses need to be able to provision servers rapidly since failure to do so is a distinct competitive disadvantage. If thats the case in your business, virtualisation is a must. Ordering a physical server and deploying it can take days if not weeks; unlike a virtual framework which once in place deployment can be done in no time.
  7. Server virtualisation test drive: Why not try virtualisation on a small scale before deciding if you should go all virtual? You can buy inexpensive tool such as VMware Workstation which costs around USD$199 for your IT staff to try out and see the potential value of server virtualisation.
  8. Do research: Even if you think you know all the basics about server virtualisation, be safe than sorry by doing more research before implementing anything. A good place to start is Virtualisation for Dummies. It provides a thorough basic understanding of the idea as well as what it can do for your business.
  9. Ignore server virtualisation hype: With so much hype around virtualisation these days it would be easy for some businesses to rush into. Don’t do that! Instead, do some research and analyze your business’ components and needs before deciding to go all virtual.
  10. Get help: Server virtualisation can be quite complicated, the good news is that vendors are making it much easier to deploy. If you decide to virtualize your servers, getting help from a reputable vendor can pay off in the long run. Most vendors offer solution bundles which include servers and storage pre-installed virtual servers for turnkey operation.

While server virtualisation proves to be an efficient and cost-effective solution for many businesses, the most important thing here is to not rush into a virtual server. Take a little time and go through a checklist to see if your business is right for the idea because if not, you’re likely to be losing both time and money. Looking to learn more about server virtualization? Call us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
May 23rd, 2014

Virtualization_May19_BMost of us are familiar with cloud-based systems to some degree and are using them in one way or another. Still, the cloud is just part of a bigger picture - a technology that has become increasingly popular known as virtualization. Adopted as a solution by many businesses, the question is what is virtualization and when if ever should it be implemented.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the act of migrating physical systems into a virtual environment. In other words, it is the creation of a virtual version of a device or resource; anything from a server to an operating system. By providing a virtual view of computing resources, this allows you to turn one server into a host for a group of servers that all share the same resources.

How is it different from other systems?

With virtualization, you can instantly access nearly limitless computing resources which allow for faster and broader business capabilities. It also gets rid of haphazard IT rooms, cables, and bulky hardware; reducing your overall IT overhead as well as management costs.

While many look at virtualization as the cloud, in reality the cloud is just a part of virtualization. The most important function of virtualization is the capability of running multiple operating systems and applications on a single computer or server. This means increased productivity achieved by fewer servers. Virtualization can usually improve overall application performance due to technology that can balance resources, and provide only what the user needs.

When to virtualize?

Virtualization can be a solution for many businesses, but not for all. The key is to know exactly when to virtualize. Here are four situations where a business could virtualize systems:
  • Virtualize if you rely on technology - Companies that rely on technology often use several servers and technology from hardware like laptops and networks. Basically, if your company needs technology to operate, virtualization can help you reduce the overall operation costs.
  • Virtualize if your company exceeds 20 employees - Many tech experts agree that there is no need for virtualization if you have a business with less than 10-20 employees. With that number, traditional servers are usually more than enough to cater to your needs.
  • Virtualize if you can cover the costs - While virtualization is meant to reduce costs, like any modern technology it requires an initial investment. The cost of virtualization can be high for smaller businesses to implement, however you do have an option of working with an IT partner like us. We can help you realize cost-savings or even a Return On Investment (ROI). For companies with servers in place, virtualization can be as simple as installing a free program.
  • Virtualize if you want space - Certain business operators throw away a big chunk of their money on an extra room to house large server racks, wires or even IT personnel to maintain them. The issue here is the cost of maintenance, as well as limited office space. In this situation, virtualization can help make better use of space while reducing hardware costs.
There are several reasons as to why many businesses look into virtualization. Like any type of technology, it’s a tradeoff between practicality and money. If you think you’re ready to move your systems to a virtual world or are looking to learn more about virtualization solutions, contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 28th, 2014

Virtualization_Feb24_BOften described as the future of business systems, virtualization has taken the world of IT to greater heights than ever before. With the advent of virtualization, businesses can now optimize their systems. In addition, this innovation allows them to do what they have never been able to do before, such as centralizing the control of the business environment, and a whole lot more.

While it may seem like virtualization is only advantageous to large businesses, in truth, even small companies can take advantage of this rising and sophisticated innovation. That being said, there are many companies still holding back. To help you understand virtualization, here are five good reasons why you need to virtualize your business now.

You can optimize servers

Perhaps the most compelling reason to virtualize your systems is to make your computing resources (such as the RAM and processor cycles) more efficient. And with efficient computing resources, businesses can reduce their capital expenses. Furthermore, small and mid-sized business are able to manage fewer physical servers, because virtualization allows users to combine, or virtualize, physical servers into fewer physical machines.

You get cutting-edge disaster recovery plans

Since catastrophes are possible, businesses should be prepared before they are faced with a disaster. The advantage of virtualization is that many solutions come with a disaster recovery plan to get your business back to a normal operational state after a problem strikes.

It can be far easier to fully back up your entire virtualized infrastructure than trying to do the same with separate hardware servers.

It increases business continuity

While business continuity is similar to disaster recovery, the goals of each operation are different. The aim of business continuity is to achieve zero, or minimal, business operation interruptions. However, many businesses find this difficult to achieve with traditional business systems.

Many virtualization solutions offer live migration, a feature that helps preserve the continuity of business operations by eliminating the need for downtime. This system works by rapidly transferring systems from one virtual environment to another when the original is affected. This enables a business to continue operations, despite some system failures.

It's a time-saver

Compared to setting up physical hardware, which can take months to establish, test, and maintain, setting up a virtualized system for your business can usually be achieved in a matter of minutes.

You get centralized control

Virtualization makes it possible to manage your entire system using one central tool. This is one cutting-edge advantage that suits many businesses, especially small and mid-sized ones. Moreover, security and compliance features can be built in, leading to systems that are even more secure than before.

The benefits to be gained by virtualizing can prove to be a real game changer for your business. Though it may seem complex at first, considering the new lingo and foreign functions, you’ll soon realize that it's just a matter of finding the right IT partner to work with.

Our virtualization experts are here for you and can help you from start to finish. If you want to know more about virtualization and its benefits to your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 1st, 2014

Virtualization_Jan27_BOne of the more common trends among small to medium businesses is the moving of physical systems to a virtual environment. This concept, commonly referred to as virtualization, will continue to be a draw for businesses for the immediate future and beyond. As with traditional systems however, businesses will still need to back up their virtualized data, which is a process many may not be considering or doing.

About data virtualization

Data virtualization is an approach to data management that takes data stored on local computers and moves it to another location, usually a server. This can provide multiple long-term benefits to businesses, some of which include integration of various types of data, minimizing data replication, and reducing physical data movement across different locations, as well as delivering sets of data to consumers in real-time.

As with every other type of data you will need to consider backing up your data. This can be a bit tougher with virtualized data. While our services do make things easier, there are still backup obstacles you should be aware of. In this guide, we highlight the three challenges and hurdles in backing up your virtualized data.

Overwhelming rapid file growth

It used to be that businesses had to worry about servers containing million of files. Now, they are warned about potentially billions of existing files. It is almost impossible to back up servers with so many files through the traditional method of copying one file at a time, as is common in legacy backup systems. The thing is, the number of files to back up is only going to grow.

You should take steps to ensure that your backup solution can handle the file growth your business will face. While a virtual solution may be working now, it is a good idea to check with your IT partner to ensure their systems are scalable.

Rapid server growth

Virtualization of networks, storage, and servers brings flexibility to the small businesses and data centers. The advent of virtualization has lead to the development of an 'app mentality' among many users and business owners. It’s safe to think that so many things you have in the world are now apps, with many being delivered through a virtual machine.

What this means for businesses is an increasing number of virtual servers that are needed to host your virtual solutions. Therefore, it is crucial to protect these virtual machines and the servers that host them because they are quickly becoming the most essential tool your business relies on. If your business is growing, your current virtual machines are likely backed up, but as you add more servers you will need to ensure that these are also backed up.

Very high user expectations

Needless to say, users have high expectations caused by misunderstandings about technology, and virtualization in particular. Users expect their IT partners to have emerging issues resolved in an instant or as quickly as possible.

While backup speeds are increasing year-on-year, it still takes time to copy data files from the backup servers, especially when the quantity of files to copy can be over a billion. It is worthwhile talking with your IT partner about backup and recovery times so you can better know what to expect when you do need to recover virtual systems.

If you have anything to share about data virtualization or virtualization in general, let your voice be heard using the comment section below.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 7th, 2013

Virtualization_Dec02_BA common tech term often uttered by tech experts and indeed many business is 'cloud'. It is often accompanied with the word 'virtualization'. These two terms have led many users to believe that they are interchangeable, when in fact they have actually quite different meanings. This can lead to confusion with all parties involved and even lead to companies making poor decisions.

What is virtualization?

At its most basic, virtualization is the creation of a virtual version of something. This virtual version is housed in a physical environment, usually a server or computer. It allows one device (server) to run multiple computing environments at the same time.

Some examples of virtualization include:

  • Condensing four servers in an office down to one which runs all four.
  • Using one server to host software that 10 computers can access.
  • Installing Windows 7 on a Macbook.
One of the biggest benefits companies see from virtualizing is maximization of the use of resources, such as networks, computers, and servers; along with providing increased flexibility.

What is the cloud?

The cloud, on the other hand, is more of an umbrella term to cover any service that is delivered over the Internet. There are numerous cloud services, most of which can fit one of three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.

Some examples of cloud computing include:

  • Using software like Google Apps or Microsoft Office Web Apps.
  • Accessing your email through the Web.
  • Storing files on a cloud-storage provider like DropBox.
The cloud carries most of the same benefits as virtualization, but can also further streamline the management of systems. Most cloud systems can be managed in a browser and can reduce the total cost of ownership for organizations.

Do the two overlap?

Where much of the confusion about the two terms stems from is the fact that there is actually quite a bit of overlap between the two concepts. Without the ability to virtualize servers, the cloud would not be able to operate.

Think about it this way: A cloud storage provider uses servers in a data center to host their storage. Without virtualization, the provider would essentially need one server per client or per group of clients. With many popular storage providers having millions of users, they would need to have an obscene amount of servers. So what they do is virtualize multiple servers and house them in one server. In other words, virtualization allows the cloud to function.

It's important to realize that the cloud is still reliant on servers, just as virtualization is. The main difference is that when companies virtualize, they usually host the servers on-site. When companies go 'to the cloud', they usually connect via the Internet to servers that are hosted off-site (outside of the organization).

Which is better for small businesses?

The main reason many companies virtualize their systems is so that they can reduce the number of servers and the physical space required to house each server. This in turn can reduce overheads. Virtualization also enables server resources to be better utilized, because when you host only one function e.g., email on a server, the hardware resources used are likely to be only a fraction of the total resources available. This results in increased efficiency and likely reduced costs.

Most companies tend to think of the cloud as a system - it provides end-users a service that they can use e.g., a word processor and document management system you access via your browser. Essentially, the cloud gives many small businesses access to enterprise level applications at a fraction of the cost - they don't have to develop, host and maintain these applications, yet see all the usability and benefits.

Because virtualization is usually local, while the cloud is seen to be more of a service, there is no real answer as to which is better - it really depends on the individual organization. If your business already has servers and systems which deliver capabilities like email, document sharing, telephony, etc. in place, then virtualization may be better employed, largely because it can help reduce your overhead and increase resource efficiency.

On the other hand, if you are a new company, or are looking to introduce a new system like document storage or production, a cloud service might well be a valuable option to look into.

Regardless of what you think would be best for your company, why not get in touch with us? Our experts can work with you to help you find the solution that best fits your company. Give us a call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 19th, 2013

Virtualization_Oct16_BOne of the more popular tech related trends is taking physical systems and migrating or switching them for a virtual version - or virtualization, as it's more commonly referred to. Virtualization has many benefits for businesses, but many small businesses are unsure as to what solutions they can actually migrate into the digital realm.

If you need some ideas as to how your small business can leverage virtualization then here are five ways to do so:

1. Simplify IT processes As business grow they inevitably introduce new technology and systems that need to be installed and maintained. Because many small companies don't have actual IT departments, or rely on a small number of staff, their resources are stretched even thinner, resulting in even greater potential tech problems.

By virtualizing systems, these can be easier to look after by either an IT partner or in-house teams. This will also free up resources which can be diverted to more business specific tasks. Combine virtualization with an IT partner and your IT becomes even easier to manage, largely because you won't have to.

2. Enhance security Cyber attacks are on the rise, and have always been a problem which many companies struggle to deal with or prevent. Virtualizing some systems, like the desktop or even Web browsing, could limit the chance of infection and malware attacks.

Take for example a read-only virtualized desktop, where you log in and are presented with a copy of the OS that can only be read. Files created or downloaded normally won't be saved. When you log off this session is closed and a completely new one is started when you log in again. The majority of viruses downloaded are usually eradicated, thereby enhancing the security of your systems.

Many IT partners and vendors provide scanning services and work to keep other virtualized systems clean and secure, with many systems being as secure, or more so, than their physical counterparts.

3. Backup systems As a business you likely have important data and information stored on various systems. Backing these up can be a chore, especially if the backup is done manually. There are virtual solutions out there that actually allow you to take what are called snapshots - a backup of your whole system at a specific time - that can be easily reverted to should something go wrong.

While you can do this with existing physical systems and backups, the virtual versions can often be quicker because you don't need to find the physical medium on which you stored the backup. Most services allow you to simply log on and begin the recovery process.

4. Enhance mobility Devices like the tablet have enabled us to become increasingly mobile. It's not uncommon for employees to access their systems while on the road, and truth be told the apps available now allow us to do the majority of our work from a mobile device.

There are times however when you will need to access an app or program on your PC. Using a solution such as a remote manager essentially turns your computer into a virtual machine, allowing you to access the files and programs stored on it from your mobile device. This is a powerful tool for the business manager or any employee who is on the road and needs to access their computers.

5. Server consolidation The server is an integral business component. These machines power many technical functions, like email, that your business relies on. If you are using older technology, you likely have more than a few servers in your office. How virtualization helps is that it allows you to create virtual servers on one physical server. This allows companies to decrease the number of servers in the office and save money.

If you are looking to virtualize your systems, or would like to learn more, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 20th, 2013

Virtualization_July15_BTechnical devices and systems are some of the most important business tools used on a daily basis by owners, managers and employees. While technology is constantly advancing, many businesses struggle to afford to update their technology on a regular basis, instead choosing to make do with their existing tech. It is largely because of this cost prohibition that virtualisation has become so popular.

Virtualisation is the moving of physical systems to a virtual environment, which is usually located off-site, and connected to over the Internet. There are many benefits to virtualisation, including lower costs and extended life of your technology, which has made it a popular option with small to medium sized businesses. If you have looked into virtualisation, you may know that there are numerous types. Here are four.

Operating system virtualisation
Operating system (OS) virtualisation is the movement of a desktop’s main operating system into a virtual environment. The computer you use remains on your desk but the operating system is hosted on a server elsewhere. Usually, there is one version on the server and copies of that individual OS are presented to each user. Users can then modify the OS as they wish, without other users being affected.

Server virtualisation
Server virtualization is the moving of existing physical servers into a virtual environment, which is then hosted on a physical server. Many modern servers are able to host more than one server simultaneously, which allows you to reduce the number of servers you have in your company, thus reducing your IT and administrative expenditures. Some servers can also be virtualised and stored offsite by other hosting companies.

Storage virtualisation
Storage virtualisation is the combining of multiple physical hard drives into a single, virtualised storage environment. To many users, this is simply called cloud storage, which can be private (hosted by your company), public (hosted outside of your company e.g., DropBox), or mixed. This type of virtualisation, along with server virtualisation, is often the most pursued by companies as it is usually the easiest and most cost effective to implement.

Hardware virtualisation
Hardware virtualisation refers to taking the components of a real machine and making them virtual. This virtual machine works like the real machine and is usually a computer with an operating system. The software is ordinarily separated from the hardware resources, with the software often remaining on the physical machines. A good example of this is a Windows PC that runs a virtual version of Linux. There are different types of hardware virtualisation, but this is the most common type used by businesses.

If you would like to learn more about virtualisation and how it can help improve your business, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
June 22nd, 2013

Virtualization_June19_BWhen it comes to technology, there are many things you and your business can do to help get the most out of what you have. One option at your disposal is to virtualise – move your physical systems to a virtual one. Virtualisation has become a popular way for small businesses to do more with less. The problem is, it can be complicated, especially because of the terms professionals use.

Here are seven commonly used hardware virtualisation terms and what they mean.

1. Host machine
The host machine, sometimes referred to as the host VM, is the actual machine that the software/hardware lives on. This is usually a physical server, that may or may not be housed in your office, which provides the processing power, disk drives, memory, etc to create a virtual version of a platform, usually an operating system.

2. Guest machine
Guest machines, sometimes referred to as guest VMs, are the virtual machines, or versions of the physical software. When a user accesses their guest machine, they are shown their own version of what is on the host machine. Many guest machines can use the software or operating systems as if it was on their physical computer.

To many users, there is still a computer on their desk, just the software and computing resources/hardware are hosted elsewhere. The vast majority of guest machines connect to the host via an Internet connection.

3. Hypervisor
The Hypervisor is the software that allows the host machine to create a virtual version that the guest machine can access.

4. Virtual Machine Manager
Virtual Machine Manager is another term used to describe the software that creates a virtual version of the host machine that the guest machine can access. The term is used interchangeably with Hypervisor, with Hypervisor being the more common of the two.

5. Snapshot
A snapshot is the state of a virtual machine at a specific time. Think of this as similar to a picture taken to capture an important moment. Most snapshots include applications open, files stored in a virtual hard drive, and general state of the virtual environment. The reason these are important is because they are what enable users to resume their virtual session right where they left off.

Some companies and public domains like libraries take snapshots of an OS and present this to users when they log into the computer. If the user makes changes, they are not saved and when they log out, the next user to log in will be presented with the previous snapshot, (essentially a brand new system).

Snapshots are also useful for quick backup and recovery of virtual environments.

6. Migration
Migration is the act of taking a snapshot of a virtual environment on one host machine, and physically moving it to another host machine with a different Hypervisor. This can normally be done quite quickly, often without major disruption to the user, who can pick up right where they left off after the migration.

7. Failover
Failover allows the user, or guest machine, to continue operations if the host fails. The difference here is that the guest machine will continue operations from the last saved, stable snapshot. This could mean some changes, made to say a file, will be lost.

These are just seven common terms related to virtualisation. If you would like to learn more about virtualisation, why not contact us? We would be happy to sit down with you to explain more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.