According to VMWare, improved server utilization is one of the primary benefits most businesses seek from virtualization. This corresponds with our experience. Few of the physical servers being operated by SMBs require all of the resources available to them.
Many of our clients get value from virtualization through server consolidation. Aging servers with expired warranties pose a significant risk to business continuity. These physical systems can often be replaced more cheaply by a much smaller number of new virtualization hosts. Old physical servers are converted to virtual machines via a process called P2V (physical to virtual).
Virtualization isn’t always appropriate for all production servers due to performance or compatibility constraints. However, even in these cases, virtualization can enable a cost effective disaster recovery platform. In the event of a system hardware failure, backups can quickly be restored to virtual machines to provide business continuity until the failed hardware is replaced.
We have done projects with several of the major virtualization platforms, including VMWare vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and the open source KVM product. We have built clustered host environments for high availability, as well as stand alone systems to serve as secondary backups or as primary systems for customers with smaller budgets.