One of the most essential components of any IT infrastructure is the server, businesses rely upon these to store information and power applications. For many of our clients and yours, their servers are a piece of physical hardware that is stored on-premise.
More than ever some businesses are now opting to use virtual servers to back up their onsite servers and power vital business functions or to replace them altogether. If you have a customer who is looking at the option of a virtual server then they may ask the following questions:
- What is a virtual server?
- How does it differ from other types of servers?
- What are the benefits of having a virtual server?
What Is A Virtual Server?
Virtual servers are very similar to traditional servers, that is housed in our offsite data centre. By using these servers, it makes it possible to share physical server hardware resources between multiple virtual servers. What this does, in essence, is to make more efficient use of physical server resources.
Virtual servers still require physical hardware components, but because the hardware today is so powerful, there is no longer a need for a 1-to-1 relationship between the operating system and physical hardware. Instead, multiple virtual machines can now reside on a single piece of hardware in our Data Centre.
Virtual Servers vs Physical Servers
When comparing virtual servers vs. physical servers, the question your customers may ask is what the difference between the servers is and which is the most efficient option for their business. The answer will always come down to your customer’s specific needs and requirements. Some businesses will always prefer physical servers, typically because they believe this option provides better security and faster uptime. But those preferences are partly built upon older information, and as we know technology is always growing, changing, and evolving. Although, the reality is, today’s virtual servers provide plenty of benefits.
Benefits of Virtual Servers
There are numerous benefits for your customers if they decide to invest in a virtual server as part of their IT infrastructure. Cost savings are the most often cited reasons for a business to switch to implementing this server. But equally, there are also benefits that go beyond money.
To name a few, with virtual servers a business can relax knowing that all their vital and imperative data has an increased level of protection and security. Here are just a few benefits for a business with a virtual server:
There are two factors often noted when explaining the cost savings offered by virtual servers: capital expenditure and utilities. When your clients require a greater server capacity in addition to their current infrastructure, they may be required to spend a lot of money on new servers and supporting hardware to meet their growing needs. In addition to new pieces of hardware, there would also need a physical home for the equipment whether it is onsite or in a data centre.
With a virtual server as needs grow, you can easily create new virtual machines on the hardware you already own within our data center, which in turn becomes easily scalable towards your business requirements. This would reduce the costs for your clients as they would not be required to spend loads of money on physical hardware, but it does not end there, it goes far beyond expenditure and saving on company expenses.
For many businesses, data storage and backup can be viewed as a headache, which is why it is up to you to provide the best solution for your customer’s requirements. As you know many businesses choose to just backup the data and not the operating system itself. This means that backups happen at a faster rate but restores require you to obtain hardware (if needed), rebuild the operating system and applications, and then restore the data. This can take hours, and even days, to complete, working around the clock.
Because of the abstraction layer between the physical hardware and the virtual server, backup software has evolved to back up the entire virtual server as a whole container. This not only provides end-users with greater protection but also faster restores when it really matters. With the virtual servers in our data center you can go back to an exact working image from the time the backup was taken so your end-users don’t have to worry about minor details that are so often overlooked when trying to rebuild a server. The RTO (Return to operation) time for virtualized servers is much lower than with a physical machine.
A primary goal for any backup solution is to make sure that any potential downtime that may occur is kept to a minimum. Having a virtual server as part of a business’s infrastructure helps significantly in reducing the downtime due to our Data Center SLA’S, alongside not having to rely on specific hardware. Because virtual servers are “portable” in a sense, your customers would no longer have to wait for new parts to arrive if their physical server needs fixing or upgrading; alternatively, the virtual servers can easily move to other server hardware in the cluster, providing greater redundancy and close to 100% uptime while the failed server is being repaired.
Finally, your customers can enjoy greater security by using a virtual server. From a monitoring standpoint, virtual servers create a smaller infrastructure that is easier for you and your customers to monitor and manage.
If a breach is detected, it can be dealt with more swiftly, too. Virtualization creates an environment of isolated machines, making it easier to contain a breach should it occur. This helps minimize the spread of malicious software throughout the entire network.
Overall a virtual server environment can offer your customer base significant security and cost savings when it comes to their backup infrastructure. If you have a client who would benefit from having a virtual server then contact the Stratus team by calling 01642 697777 or through the form below to discuss requirements further and learn more about our data center and the backup solutions we supply.