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What Can Really Be Virtualized?

Strategically Speaking
May 25, 2011

Chris Sutherland 
 Author: Chris Sutherland,

In my last blog entry, we discussed “Virtualization…so what is it?” Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of your IT environment’s operating system, a server, or resources.  When discussing virtualization, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “What can really be virtualized?” With time, this question is becoming more easily answered.  In fact, in today’s ever-changing world of virtualization there is very little that cannot be virtualized.  The technology is so robust that almost everything can -- and in my opinion should -- be virtualized.  With the proper configuration of physical hardware and costs of “Tier 1” storage, you not only can save hardware costs by making the change from physical to virtual, but you also can benefit from having a more highly-available solution for your institution.

From an installation standpoint, the most commonly virtualized servers that we see working very well include: Domain Controllers, Exchange Servers, File Servers, Print Servers, and Application Servers, including terminal servers.  When you really think about it, an average physical server uses less Virtualization 250x190than 10% of its total processing power, yet vendors now tell you, “Don’t install this on this type of server.”  (For example, in the past many small organizations would combine a Domain Controller with an Exchange Server, yet this is not recommended by best practices. Plus, certain applications like IIS and Terminal Services, are also not recommended for Domain Controllers.)  For the purpose of an example, you can figure that a small business would need a minimum of four servers to run some basic applications.  Now let’s consider migrating the example to a virtualized scenario having two physical servers and shared storage, thereby giving you the ability to run all of these servers on shared resources.  In this case, you now have the capability -- should hardware problems arise -- to stay up and running (vs. having to wait on replacement parts before you can be back in business), which helps facilitate your business continuity objectives.

So then, the next question anticipated from a ProfitStars® client would be, “Which of your products can be run in a virtual environment?”  Again, from our company standpoint, the better question is, “What cannot be virtualized?”  The good news is that at the time of this blog there are a very limited number of products not supported for use in a virtual environment.  That tells us that most all of the software provided by ProfitStars®, in most cases, can be virtualized.  For more information on virtualization with ProfitStars products you can speak directly with your account manager, sales person, or contact us directly at Matrix Network Services at

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