Thursday, October 7, 2010

Virtual vs. Physical (Part one)

First thing first: It`s not a secret that I`m a fan of Microsoft`s solutions, especially
when it comes to virtualization and Hyper-V. I enjoy spending time with
virtualization and testing, to find solutions that are out of the box.
Virtualization changed the work day for the IT-pros, and I will share some thoughts about what
I consider as advantages compared to physical machines.
In a virtual environment, there is no problem to add additional hw.
CPU, memory, controllers, NICs and disk. Everything is possible to add in few seconds. Some of the hw can also be added on the fly, while the VMs is still running. The ability to this does not require physical presence of your IT-staff, but can be managed remotely.
Compared to a physical machine, you most often have to shut down your machine, take it
out of the rack, insert the hw, and check that it is functional. That does require physical presence unless you have sticky fingers.
“After all, VMs is nothing but a set of files in a folder”. With that statement, it is
easy to imagine the backup and restore scenario for this design, compared to physical servers.
It requires storages, - yes. But also backup of physical servers require storage.
With the snapshot feature, you can save the state of the VMs in case you need to restore it later. (Installing patches, applications, and so on). But there are some consideration with snapshots as well.
Administration & Management:
This is my favorite. The ability to move your VMs, clone VMs, deploy new VMs and much more, make the work day much more pleasant. Off course you`ll need sufficient hw to be able to perform all this.
(With 2008 R2 SP1,you are now able to use dynamic memory for your VMs. That means that the RAM your VMs allocate from the parent, don’t have to be more than necessary to be able to start your VMs. Off course, you can set an upper limit as well.)
With 2008 R2, you are able to use CSV (Clustered Shared Volumes), so the Hyper-V nodes can share volumes in Failover Cluster. That gives you the possibility to perform Live Migration without downtime for you VMs.

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