Along with a few of my colleagues, I attended a seminar this past week at the Irving Microsoft Offices about Citrix and Microsoft’s virtualization offerings. It was very interesting. The potential advantages for virtualizing your servers or workstations are great.

Let’s talk first about server virtualization and in a later post we will cover workstation virtualization benefits.

If you virtualize your server, you have the potential to get back up and running faster if there was a critical hardware failure on your server. You could potentially copy the “virtual server” file over to another piece of hardware and then install a virtual machine player such as “VMware Player” and boot up your “virtual” server file within minutes and have it fully functional again almost regardless of the hardware that it is physically running on.

If this hardware problem had happened in a regular, non-virutalized environment, you would have to fix the hardware problem on that specific server before using it again, or at minimum restore from backup to another piece of hardware. This usually isn’t just a matter of waiting on the restore files to be copied, but usually a fresh installation of the operating system on the replacement hardware is usually involved.

With virtualization, your server can be backup up and functional in the amount of time that it takes to do a file copy. Note, obviously that the larger the virtual server file, the longer it would take to copy the file. Nevertheless, the amount of time involved with doing a file copy vs. a restoration from tape or online backup would be significantly less.

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