IT departments can and do spend a good deal of their efforts on insuring no system downtime. Help desks are kept fairly busy with answering questions, troubleshooting, and physically going into the field. Maintaining vast amounts of workstations and applications is time consuming and not a very good use of engineering staff. The time, energy and expense of maintenance could instead be put towards creating new solutions for business growth.
Virtualization can help relieve the backlog of support issues. In the past applications would need to be installed on distinct physical servers and couldn't be moved or changed without the arduous task of uninstalling and doing a complete reinstall on another computer. But now, virtualization allows the application or service to be completely separate from the hardware it supports. (Aberdeen 2013)
"Virtualization software can be added to the server, applications can then easily be migrated to a new computer for better performance, protection from downtime or hardware maintenance. The result is higher application performance, increased uptime and greatly reduced amounts of IT administration."
How does Server virtualization work?
Server virtualization adds a software layer, called a hypervisor, on top of the physical hardware. On that layer, multiple operating system/application stacks (called VMs, short for virtual machines) can be deployed, the number being limited by the server's ability to process them all effectively.
"Not only can you get more applications per server (reducing the number of servers, admin., power, cooling, & space in the datacenter) but now the applications can be easily moved from one server to another."
Virtualization of storage frees users from the limits of physical space. The actual location of data could theoretically be anywhere suitable and safe. The virtualization system presents to the user a logical space for data storage and handles the process of mapping it to the actual physical location.
Organizations save thousands of dollars by reducing the number of large data storage (SANS)units that are needed. They also simplify management of storage by using one application, instead of having on average 3 separate management applications.
"Most Desktop virtualization technologies move application computing to the datacenter. The desktop device is used only to capture keystrokes, mouse moVeeaments and screen paints. Data is kept on the central storage devices, allowing it to be professionally backed up and protected against loss or theft. If new applications need to be deployed, they are installed on the server once for those with the required privileges to access as needed." (Aberdeen, 2013)
Gartner (2014) Predicts 2014: Business Continuity Management and IT Disaster Recovery Management Retrieved August 10, 2014 from http://www.gartner.com/doc/2630027
Ready.gov (2014) IT disaster recovery plan. Retrieved 8/11/2014 from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/IT