Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Weblogic, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

The Benefits of Virtualization in a Cloud

Virtual Appliances Puts Enterprise-Class IT Within the Reach of SMBs

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) that have previously considered virtualization in the cloud but decided that it is too expensive or simply not viable should think again. Virtualization and cloud computing enables SMBs to green their operations and build IT infrastructures that are agile, resilient and highly scalable.

Virtualization has been firmly embedded in the enterprise mainstream.  Cloud computing is quickly catching up. By moving away from the one-application-per-server deployment model to a cloud computing model, enterprises have been able to reap a broad set of benefits including cost reductions, improved availability and increased agility. However, many SMBs continue to view virtualization as an enterprise-only technology that would not be viable in their smaller organizations - and that is a misconception.  Cloud computing allows maximum use of resources and maintains the competitive edge.

In short, SMBs are now able to benefit from enterprise-class IT at a fraction of the normal cost.

The Benefits of Virtualization in a Cloud
The advent of high horsepower servers highlighted a fundamental problem with the one-application-per-server model: it was not efficient. Dedicating a modern server to a single application is likely to result in that server being severely underutilized - in fact, many businesses find that their servers are running at anywhere between 5% and 25% of total capacity and, accordingly, a substantial amount of computing resources are unused.

Virtualization used in a cloud computing environment enables those previously untapped resources to be put to use. Because a physical server's resources can be shared between multiple VMs (virtual machines), servers can be made to utilize much more of their capacity: a server that was running at only 10% capacity when non-virtualized may run at 85% capacity when virtualized. In addition, virtualization also enables SMBs to simplify their infrastructures. Disparate legacy applications and new applications that require different operating systems can all be run on the same physical hardware. Combined, these factors provide businesses with a broad and substantial set of benefits including:

  • Reduced energy costs. The consolidation of workloads will mean that there are a reduced number of servers that need to be powered. This can lead to cost reductions of between $300 and $600 per year for each server that is removed from the infrastructure. In the case of data centers, the reductions will be in the region of $600 to $1200 per year when cooling costs are included.
  • Reduced real estate costs. Because virtualization enables the installed server base to be reduced, rack/floor space requirements will also be reduced.
  • Reduced management costs. Virtualization enables businesses to radically overhaul and streamline their IT operations. Time that previously had to be devoted to routine tasks such as provisioning and maintenance can be redirected to other areas, enabling IT staff to concentrate on core business functions.
  • Improved agility and responsiveness. Deploying a physical server takes time: the server must be in order, wired into the network, and the necessary software installed and configured. Bringing a virtual server online is, however, a much easier and speedier process and one that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, enabling IT to respond to business needs much more rapidly.
  • Improved availability and business continuity. Because VMs can be brought online in a matter of moments and migrated between physical servers without downtime, virtualization can practically eliminate the need for maintenance windows and unscheduled downtime, ensuring high availability for the key applications that drive a business.

While server consolidation is often thought of as the main driver and benefit of virtualization, enhanced availability is nonetheless equally as important. According to The Costs of Downtime: North American Medium Businesses 2006[1], a study by research group Informatics, mid-market enterprises experience an average of 140 hours of unscheduled downtime each year at a cost of $867,000 (or 1% of their revenue).

In short, virtualization utilized in a cloud infrastructure enables businesses to do more with less.

Why SMBs Should Embrace Virtualization and Cloud Computing Sooner Rather than Later
The current challenging economic climate makes it necessary for businesses to seek ways of maximizing their use of resources, while simultaneously reducing their operational costs, and virtualization and cloud computing enables them to do just that. In addition to the obvious cost efficiencies already outlined, there are also a host of other compelling reasons for SMBs to consider virtualizing sooner rather than later and more specifically in a cloud computing infrastructure:

  • Proving green credentials. Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and are increasingly taking environmental considerations into account when making purchasing decisions. This means that companies need to be green and need to be seen to be green. If they are not, it could result in lost business. This shift in consumer priorities is also causing businesses to ramp up their own green initiatives. Today, it is not uncommon for larger companies to ask their suppliers and business partners about their environmental policies. And this is a trend that is likely to continue. Gartner recently predicted[2] that, by 2011, global enterprises will require that their suppliers be able to prove their green credentials via an audited process in order to retain their status as a preferred supplier. Gartner's prediction is already becoming reality: a number of multi-national enterprises are now looking at ways of implementing auditing processes to establish the green credentials of their supplier.
    While greening may currently be voluntary, it may very well soon become a business necessity.
  • Incentives. Utility companies are starting to offer incentives to companies that make their IT operations more energy efficient. For example, Pacific Gas and Electric offers a rebate to businesses undertaking virtualization projects that result in the removal of server equipment [3]. The rebates are typically in the region of $150 to $300 and capped at 50% of the cost of the project. Furthermore, the removal of servers will, as noted above, result in a savings on the energy bill of between $300 and $600 per year per server removed.
  • Rapidly escalating management costs. According to a 2006 study by IDC4, management and administrative expenditure in data centers is growing three times faster than expenditure on computing equipment. While data centers and SMBs may be very different animals, smaller businesses are nonetheless facing similar problems. As their reliance on IT has increased, so their IT infrastructures have become increasingly complex and increasingly time-consuming to manage.

Virtualization, whether offered in a cloud or not, allows SMBs to simplify IT and reduce management overhead. In a cloud environment, tasks such as provisioning, maintenance, configuration, monitoring and backup become considerably easier and considerably less time-consuming, enabling SMBs to combat soaring management costs.

In the past, SMBs would have found that virtualization had a somewhat swings and roundabouts effect on the management overhead; while in some areas its impact would be positive, in others it would be negative. But that is no longer the case. As virtualization has become increasingly mainstream, so cloud computing solutions have become easier to use. For example, VMware now offer Acceleration Kits5 designed to help SMBs enjoy the gains of virtualization without experiencing the pains and can then be leveraged for a cloud computing environment.

Virtual Appliances: Maximizing the ROI from Virtualization in a Cloud Environment
VMware describes virtual appliances (VAs) as, "Pre-built software solutions, comprised of one or more virtual machines that are packaged, updated, maintained and managed as a unit." In other words, a VA is simply the virtual world's equivalent of a physical appliance. Interestingly enough, VMware has build their own private cloud, vCloud, which is a secure computing environment that allows computing capacity from both internal and external clouds to interoperate and be delivered much like a utility.

A private cloud brings unprecedented levels of flexibility, control, efficiency, resiliency, and manageability to datacenters and allows any application - legacy, server-based, desktop or those built on new application frameworks - to be delivered as a service.

The private cloud brings the benefits of cloud computing under the control of corporate IT, such as:

  • Improved efficiencies through maximum resource utilization of all server, storage and network resources
  • Better resiliency through capacity or fail-over capabilities that are dynamic or on-demand
  • Improved accountability by leveraging a usage-based, pay-as-you-go service model
  • Better quality through standardized auditable and automatically ensured service levels
  • More flexibility through a future-proof platform that supports existing and future applications that require no re-writes or modification to run in the cloud

References

More Stories By Ronan Kavanagh

Ronan Kavanagh is CEO for the SpamTitan suite of products (www.spamtitan.com). Educated in NUI Galway, Ireland, he joined Copperfasten Technologies in June 2004. Prior to joining Copperfasten Ronan worked with Eurokom, an Internet Security Services provider, delivering a wide range of solutions to both Government and large blue chip companies in Ireland. During his time with Eurokom Ronan was responsible for the ongoing sales development of Eurokoms managed email service which cumulated in Eurokoms inclusion in the Government VPN, a multi million euro central government led initiatives to provide centralized WAN services to all Government Departments.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.