What is virtualisation?

Virtualisation is the process of creating virtual instances of a device or resource. Multiplying an asset, whether it be a server, storage device or operating system without the requirement of additional hardware.

The simplest example of this would be partitioning a hard drive.

Although you are using one hard drive, the act of partitioning creates multiple virtual hard drives, identifiable with their own drive letter.

At the other end of the spectrum the same scenario can be used with complete operating systems.
With one high powered machine managing multiple independent operating systems.

Why is virtualisation useful

Virtualisation can provide savings on the cost of hardware, and sometimes software e.g. Windows Server 2012R2 Data Centre Licenses. Virtualisation is also flexible, easier to manage, more robust, allows quicker provisioning of workstations for new staff members, improves disaster recovery and a whole host of other benefits.

What type of business is virtualisation suited to?

Virtualisation is best leveraged in large organisations with the requirement of high availability. The tasks that are best suited for a virtualised environment would be word processing, web browsing, accounting etc.

In organisations where an individual requires a high level of computing power e.g. Graphic Designer, Photographer, CAD Operator etc. then individual workstations still reign supreme.

Sounds great! What’s the catch?

Because you are putting all your eggs in one basket as it were, it is essential that the servers and storage that are powering your business have robust backup and failover in place. For this reason, there is often a very high financial outlay for creating such a system. However, when compared to the benefits it is still an attractive proposition.