Thanksgiving comes early for virtualization pros

When it comes to virtualization, there's a lot to be thankful for. As Thanksgiving approaches, our advisory board members share their favorite benefits of server virtualization.

The benefits of server virtualization are clear. There's server consolidation, reduced power and cooling costs, improved management … the list goes on and on.

There are so many benefits of server virtualization, in fact, that it can be hard to choose one favorite. But that's what we asked members of our Server Virtualization Advisory Board to do this month. With Thanksgiving approaching, we asked:

What server virtualization technology or product are you most thankful for?

CJ Metz, First American

I am most thankful for server virtualization as a whole. Server virtualization has revolutionized the way that we look at server infrastructure and brought huge monetary and management advancements with it -- notably, the ability to better leverage your existing hardware, cut down on total infrastructure requirements and allow for better overall management.

Server virtualization has made my life significantly easier when it comes to troubleshooting connectivity issues. Through your hypervisor, you can log in and view all the VMs in your environment. If needed, you can then power on a server, add or remove hardware and troubleshoot any issues affecting a single guest. In most cases, this removes the physical layer and the need to go to the data center to power on a system or troubleshoot physical hardware.

Rob McShinsky, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center

I'm most thankful for snapshots. Whether it be a host-based snapshot or an on-demand, point-in-time snapshot, this technology has saved me many hours of tedious system restores after failed upgrades and patches and administrative mistakes.

Snapshots have also allowed me to be more aggressive with updates, to see if a particular patch fixes a problem. With the ability to turn back to a previous state and save the day in a matter of seconds, the snapshot is the unsung hero of server virtualization. It is found within almost every server virtualization product, and there is no good reason not to use it regularly.

If you get a phone call this Thanksgiving about a crashed server, you can get it back up in running before the tryptophan kicks in, all thanks to the simple snapshot.

Shannon Snowden, New Age Technologies

I started working with virtualization, specifically VMware ESX Server, in early 2003. As a technical person who is responsible for recommending solutions to clients, I was an early adopter and quickly embraced virtualization, even for production workloads. I was confident with ESX, because I found it worked pretty well and was very stable once you had it configured correctly. I wasn't alone in my confidence, because many others quickly discovered what I had: ESX just worked.

That is what I am most thankful for in the virtualization industry -- not only the fact that it exists, but that it is the key infrastructure technology that enables so many great initiatives today, like cloud computing. VMware was very smart and produced ESX with limited features -- you actually had to know some Linux commands and work in the shell to configure it -- and they under-promised and over-delivered with their early versions. If they had tried to add features quickly and made ESX unstable, we may not have widespread adoption of virtualization today.

Dave Sobel, Evolve Technologies

I'm most thankful for the robust development and toolset around conversions. Physical-to-virtual (P2V) and virtual-to-physical (V2P) conversions are now simple and easy to do, where this used to be a very complicated procedure. Moving to and from a virtualized environment is commonplace, and this allows for easy adoption by customers. Because it's easy to move into virtualization, but also easy to move out of it if needed, it's allowed us to move incredibly quickly with customers who might have been reluctant before.

Have a question for the Server Virtualization Advisory Board? Email Colin Steele, Senior Site Editor.

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