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Virtualisation Ė What is it and do I need it?

Whoís Using It?

In my experience there are three beneficiaries from this new technology. The first fits neatly with the scenario above, several servers into one box does go. They donít even need to all run the same operating system, so you could share a box for your Windows Domain Controller, Fileserver, and Exchange Server, then top it off with a Linux based intranet, and maybe a legacy OS/2 app for good measure. A simple cost saving argument, less hardware, less power required to run it, less to maintain etc.

The second are those still running legacy apps on old hardware. Ever tried to run DOS or OS/2 on current servers? You have?? Well for those that like to get out more, youíll know itís becoming increasingly difficult and often youíre forced to continue running on old equipment with the associated maintenance worries. One of the solutions is to virtualise the environment and then run it on a new machine. The hardware is all emulated to the virtual machine so if it works now, you can protect the configuration for the future. It doesnít work for everything Ė Iím not convinced youíll get very far with an old Irma card or a Multiprotocol adapter but itís a way out for some.

Thirdly development and testing will gain great benefits from virtualising. Itís easy to deploy several different setups without having to have several machines on your desk. Many of the popular virtualisation environments allow you to take snapshots so you can quickly rollback a configuration when things go wrong, and cloning a machine is as simple as copying a few files.

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