4 posts • joined 9 Nov 2009
Because you dont move the data. You just move the server (in that I mean the servers memory of the vMotion network). It literally takes a couple of clicks and seconds, no downtime, no bother.
When updating the software you have the benefit of snapshots- in that you can protect against problems by snapshotting the current server state (again in mere seconds) before performing the upgrade. You can even clone the server, upgrade the clone and leave the live server running. So development and testing can be done on exact copies of the server, not ones that depend on perfect documentation.
Of course you can never totally free yourself from some restrictions- but there is no denying that VMWare makes things a lot less painful.
Of course the OS lets you do that, but as we all know not all apps coexist happily, and with the way VMWare allocates resources dynamically we have yet to have had any server run slower than its physical equivilent. In fact our SQL servers run far faster because of the number of spindles we are able to allocate using HP EVA SAN technology. In fact its quite staggering to realise how little our old physical servers were doing- replacing 24 individual servers with 3 Dual Quad-Core Xeons blew me away. I couldnt quite believe how well they performed- especially now we have our dev environment running on there, so thats 33 servers running.
Plus think of the electricity savings in replacing that much kit with a SAN, 3 hosts and 1 physical host to handle backups! One other neat thing VSphere does is allow us to move all the servers onto 2 of the hosts, shutting down the 3rd server as it is idle and backups run- then the 3rd server is fired up again as soon as the extra processing power is required. Clever clever stuff, but also something that saves our company money- especially as the servers idle at weekends too. Thats about 150-170 days per year that the servers are running at 2/3s power consumption.
VMWare really is gobsmacking- but to appreciate it you HAVE to throw away all the old conventions and be prepared to think afresh. I may sound like a bit of an evangelist but I wasnt prepared for just how good it works, and how much easier it makes my job.
one other thing
Most enterprise enviroments use Windows- it DOES care what hardware platform its on. Try moving from a HAL with a P4 to a Core 2 Duo and see what happens without any preparation.....BSD anyone?
And as I said performance isnt an issue- as all the hosts are clustered VMWare DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) will dynamically allocate resources where it is most needed. Moving machines automatically to new hosts if required. VMWare itself is baremetal- so its overhead is minimal- at no point did we have to spec the hardware to take into consideration anything but the hosted OS's.
Centralised backup of VMWare is better because of DR. It means you dont have to care (apart from using the wide variety of kit that VMWare supports) about what hardware platform you restore to.
It means you can treat entire server restores as you would the restore of a Word document.
Its also quicker- meaning you can backup more in less time as your backing up contiguous files, and normally off a very fast SAN.
As an example- we can restore our Symantec Vault store and Server (600gb) and have it up and running in under 4 hrs. Try doing that when you have disimilar hardware and havent got the luxury of hot servers and replication at a DR site.
You should rephrase your "I dont buy into it" comment as "I simply don't get it", in that you do not understand or want to understand how an Enterprise VMWare environment works.
And dont forget about vMotion- being able to actually move LIVE VirtualMachines to another server to upgrade hardware in hours, or dynamically move heavily utilised VMs (users) to a client that will give them the extra performance they require, or move VMs off when they are just ticking over and give power users more.
Then there is DR- your entire Server/Desktop footprint being hardware independant, no need to worry about rebuilding servers etc- just restore the backup and your up and running without the need to reinstall applications etc.
And its not just big business that saves money- we replaced just 24 ageing servers with VSphere for not only less than the price of 24 new servers but also with major savings on man-hours to perform the migrations. We actually migrated our Exchange system overnight remotely using a warm migration.
Those who doubt both VMWares capabilities and the amount of REAL time and money it saves have obviously never used it, and should check out a demo as the showtime is just as impressive.
VMWare is not a fad or a gimmick- it really can be as good as the hype.
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