Virtualization is becoming more and more popular but that isn’t reason enough to do it. So why should you virtualize your your servers? Specifically, why should you use VMware Server? Most of these reasons apply not only to VMware Server but to virtualization in general. Let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons…
1. It’s Free
Like Microsoft’s Virtual Server, VMware Server is free to download and use. You must still, of course, pay for any licensed operating system you install inside of it. For example, say you wanted to install 5 virtual Microsoft Windows Servers inside VMware, you would have to pay for those 5 licenses, just as you would if you had 5 physical serves. Of course, if you were to use a free version of Linux for both the host and guest operating system, that server could cost you absolutely nothing, except for the cost of the server.
2. Reduced Administration Burden
With VMware Server, the burden of administrating your servers will be reduced. According to VMware, you can reduce the administrator to server ratio from 1:10 to 1:30. This means that you can either save time in your daily server admin tasks or be able to administer more servers by having VMware implemented.
Here are some examples of how VMware can reduce your administrative burden:
- Centralized console allows quicker access to servers
- You can quickly mount CD/DVDs using ISO files
- You can deploy servers quicker (see #3)
- Quickly allocate additional RAM or disk drives
- Quickly move virtual servers from one server to another
3. Faster Server Deployment
Because every virtual guest server is simply a file on the disk, you can quickly clone an existing system or create a new system from a sysprepped image.
To clone an existing server, you can simply copy the entire directory of your current virtual server. To make this not conflict with the existing Then go in and rename the folder and files and folders, edit the VMX File, change the SSID if it is a Windows system, change the hostname and the IP address (if static).
However, the best way to quickly deploy a new server with VMware is to create an unused virtual guest that has a sysrepped install of Windows. This way, you have a unique username, but can still get a fast install and deployment.
Think about it. Say that you are told you need a new server. Say that you order a new server, have it arrive, unbox it and mount it in a rack, supply power and network access, provide cooling, and then install the OS. If you compare this to the time it would take just to copy a virtual disk, turn it on, and complete the sysrepped install you will see just how very quickly you can deploy new servers with VMware.
Also, FREE VMware appliances and demo servers can be downloaded from the Internet. For more information see: Download Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Virtual Machines and Learn how Downloading VMware Virtual Appliances can help you
4. Reduced Infrastructure Cost
We just talked about the time VMware server can save you on deploying new servers but think about it, what about the cost for that server, cooling, electricity, network ports, console video mouse & keyboard ports, and rackspace? By VMware running servers virtually, all of these costs can be averted. Here are some from the VMware website:
- Increase hardware utilization by 50-70%
- Decreased hardware and software capital costs by 40%
- Decreased operating costs by 50-70%
VMware works best for servers that aren’t resource intensive. However, that description probably includes many servers in most IT environments today.
5. More features than the competition
Like Microsoft’s Virtual Server, VMware Server is free to download and use. Both allow you to virtualize Windows and Linux systems. We compared the desktop versions of these two products in our article VMware Workstation or Virtual PC: Which is right for you? I don’t have space to fully compare VMware Server and MS Virtual Server in this article. But I can tell you that VMware Server offers MORE features than Microsoft’s Virtual server. Here are a few of the reasons I believe that VMware Server offers more:
- Upgradeability to ESX Server (see VMware Versions Compared)
- VMware is more mature
- More grassroots support for VMware Server
- Snapshot give you the ability to save the state of your server and then revert to it
- Virtual Center centralized management system is available to manage multiple VMware servers
- Supports two processors on a single guest
- Supports 64 bit guest operating systems
- Runs on Linux or Windows as the host operating system
In summary, there is no better time to download VMware Server and being virtualizing certain servers in your server environment. While there are so many benefits to any brand of virtualization software you choose. In my mind, VMware server is the clear choice.
To learn how to download and install VMware Server, see our article on How to Install VMware.
Do you have questions or comments about how or why you should virtualize your servers? Checkout our VMware Discussion Forum!