The world of IT is actively venturing into virtualization more than ever. Organizations are opting for virtualization owing to the various advantages that it provides.
Moreover, with the advent of cloud, new businesses prefer working in a virtual environment as it helps remote working environments.
But, like all things in this world, not everything is as rosy as it seems. There are pros and cons to everything, and that includes virtualization.
Let’s take a look at virtualization through its various advantages and disadvantages.
Most businesses spend a lot of capital setting up their systems and servers but eventually use only a fraction of it effectively.
Instead, if they opt for virtualization, they can create multiple instances on the same hardware and extract the maximum value out of it.
This way, they can save hardware costs and attain a high-efficiency level.
One significant advantage of virtualization is the advanced features that it provides; allowing virtual instances to be available at all times.
The biggest advantage here is the capability to move the virtual instance from one server location to another. It can be done without having to close and restart the processes that are already running.
It also ensures your data is not lost during the migration process. Hence, it won’t matter if there are unplanned outages, your instance will always be up and running at all times.
Virtualization service providers are thus providing 99.999% uptime today owing to the same reason.
With virtual instances on remote servers, duplication, backup, and recovery are also easier.
With new tools available that provide near real-time data backup and mirroring, one can be sure of zero data loss at any point in time.
In case of downtime or a crash, they can simply pick up from the last saved position mirrored on another virtual instance and run with it.
This ensures business continuity at all times. Organizations can attain the highest efficiency with this.
Setting up physical systems and servers is a time-consuming affair. You need to raise a purchase order and wait for it to be processed.
Once done, then await the products to be shipped and set up, which can take hours.
After getting all the connections right, you still have to install the required OS and software which consumes more hours.
Overall, it is a long wait worth days or even weeks for the entire setting-up process.
On the flipside, with virtualization, you can simply get started within minutes have a productive setup.
Many organizations are using old school methodologies even today.
They have been doing so because they had made a substantial investment back in the day to ensure their IT systems were always up and running.
With the current digital transformation wave, organizations are looking to move to the cloud for various advantages.
The challenge here is the migration of such a large amount of data available on-premise.
Virtualization would have made the task much easier because most of the data would already be available on a server.
Hence, migrating all of it to the cloud would be easier.
As helpful virtualization is, it does have some flaws, and the high initial investment is one of the major one.
Virtualization indeed helps the business reduce operational costs. But the initial setup cost of servers and storage is higher than a regular setup.
Hence, companies need years before they break even and then realize savings and higher profitability with virtualization.
It is a bad bet for companies opting for a large set up at the beginning.
They could instead opt for a regular desktop setup and then gradually make a move to desktop virtualization.
Working on virtual instances on shared hardware resources entails your data is hosted on a third-party resource.
It can leave your data vulnerable to attacks or unauthorized access. This is a challenge if your service provider does not have proper security solutions to safeguard your virtual instance and data.
It is true, specifically in the case of storage virtualization.
Scaling on virtualization is a breeze, but not so much if it has to be done in a short period of time.
In case of physical setup, one can quickly set up new hardware and scale, even if it entails some initial setting up complications.
With virtualization, having to ensure all the requisite software, security, enough storage, and resource availability can be a tedious task.
It consumes more time than one might expect since a third-party provider is involved.
Moreover, the additional cost involved in increased resource use is another challenge to manage.
It is true that virtualization allows the optimum use of all resources. However, it is also a challenge when you need that additional boost sometimes, but it is not available.
Resources in virtualization are shared. The same resources that a single user might have consumed are now shared among three or four users.
The overall available resources might not be shared equally or may be shared in some ratio depending upon the tasks being run.
As the complexity of tasks increases, so does the need for performance from the system. It results in a substantially higher time required to complete the task.
Unintended server sprawl is a major cause of concern for many server admins and users alike. Many issues that service desk persons raise are of server sprawls.
Setting up a physical server consumes time and resources, whereas a virtual server can be created in a matter of minutes.
Every time, instead of reusing the same virtual server, users tend to create new servers since it allows them the chance to make a fresh start.
The server administrator who should be handling five or six servers has to handle over 20 virtual servers. This can cause a major complication in the smooth operations, and forced termination of certain servers can also cause loss of data.
It is true that more organizations are using virtualization.
They need to understand if virtualization is really working for them. They must not necessarily follow the market trend and opt for it. Else it could result in being counter-productive for them.
In case they wish to opt for virtualization, they might also have to tweak their operation processes accordingly.
But most importantly, they must consider all the pros and cons properly and make an informed decision on how to make the most of virtualization for their business.
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