Virtualization - true business continuity, redundancy, scalability and disaster recovery
'Virtualization’ is an IT-industry buzzword well worth the focus of any business owner. It is the focal point for leveraging IT investment to achieve true business continuity, redundancy, scalability and disaster recovery. It can also change the accounting structure of IT costs from capital to operational expenditure, often considered a benefit by business owners.
What is virtualization?
Virtualization is the concept of using a software representation of physical hardware solutions. It can be applied to all parts of IT infrastructure such as servers, networks, storage devices or operating systems and can be implemented in multiple ways - in a data centre, in the cloud, or a customised combination of onsite, data centre or cloud. IT Basecamp operates a data centre in the world-class Equinix facility in Sydney, using VMWare for virtualization solutions, and is also an experienced Google Cloud partner.
Benefits of virtualization
The benefits of implementing a virtualization solution are best described with an example scenario:
Imagine a medium-sized accounting firm, Accurate Accounting Pty Ltd, employing 25 staff and using one centralised, on-site server to enable backups and store business-critical data. Accurate Accounting is growing fast and the server is ageing, so the company is looking to upgrade to protect the business into the future. The board of directors are looking for a solution that is secure, provides redundancy and is flexible for meeting the company’s changing needs. Most importantly, the firm’s partners recognise IT is critical to business success but not their area of expertise. The ideal solution is one that allows staff to focus on their core business and keeps IT investment at the forefront of their industry. Two alternative scenarios are considered:
- Scenario A - purchase a new, larger server to replace the current ageing hardware
- Scenario B - move to a virtualization solution using IT Basecamp’s Data Centre
Scenario A: lifetime cost
- Capital expenditure of new equipment + setup and implementation by technician
- electricity cost of running hardware 24/7/365 + maintaining server environment at optimal temperature
- hiring technical staff for support in the event of maintenance/upgrades or equipment failure
Scenario B: lifetime cost
- monthly subscription to chosen data centre resources
Scenario A: benefits
- ownership and control of equipment
Scenario B: benefits
- technical support always available at no extra cost
- technicians monitoring and maintaining your virtual network
- 100% business continuity through replication and redundancy
- cost amortisation by converting capital expenditure to an operational expense
- ‘siloed’ data centre environment provides client with full data security while shared infrastructure allows easy and spontaneous scalability to meet business needs
Scenario A: in the event of server failure
- Tech support hired to investigate and fix failure. Technician sources and purchases new hard drive for server, physically installs equipment, server re-configured, files restored from backup. Cost of new hardware plus tech support.
- Estimated time: up to 5 days.
Scenario B: in the event of server failure
- By nature a data centre keeps multiple copies of each piece of data, providing complete replication and redundancy. In the event of a hardware failure, alerts immediately notify technicians of the problem. Technician re-routes the virtualization and service continues.
- Estimated time: immediate, no cost to client, no data loss.
Scenario A: future business changes
- Accurate Accounting firm thrives and company expands quickly: physical server slows as demand on resources increases, new IT project required to upgrade company network resulting in more capital expenditure; or,
- Due to economic downturn Accurate Accounting downsizes: server resources sit idle and no reduction in costs.
Scenario B: future business changes
- Accurate Accounting firm thrives and company expands quickly: resources allocated in the data centre are expanded to meet needs; or,
- Due to economic downturn Accurate Accounting downsizes: allocated resources in data centre reduced as needed, reducing monthly subscription service cost accordingly.