A virtual server can mean different things to different people. For people who want hosting for their website, a virtual server is a portion of a hardware allocated specifically to their user account so they don’t need to share processing, memory and bandwidth with other users. It’s not quite the same as a dedicated server, but it comes close.
In another setting, a virtual server is an operating setup that acts as a file or application server as part of a network and that’s where the practical uses are not immediately apparent if you have never used one before. All servers have a base operating system, which may be a version of Windows Server or Ubuntu Linux and then any number of virtual machines can run within the base operating system.
Applications or storage services running on a virtual machine will have no identifiable difference to applications or storage running on the base operating system. In other words, a Dell server running Windows Server 2012 will function the in same way as a virtual machine. How Dell virtual servers work is indistinguishable from the server running on the base operating system.
Why Use a Virtual Server?
There are many reasons why a virtual server is more practical than running everything from within one setup, but the most obvious reason is to reduce costs. Why have two separate hardware setups when you can use one setup to run software on multiple operating systems?
By running server instances in a virtual machine, you can do away with hardware that is becoming obsolete, but has been necessary because your business has relied on the software and system that runs on it and changing would cause too much disruption. Installing a legacy version of an operating system and using software to migrate from a physical server setup to a virtual setup is easy.
A rising trend in server virtualization is termed as migration. Migration refers to moving a server from one physical machine to another. With the proper hardware and software, it’s now easy to move a virtual server from one physical machine in a network to another.Previously , this was possible only if both physical machines ran on similar hardware, operating system and processor. However,, with advancement in virtualization technology now it’s possible to migrate virtual servers from one physical machine to a different physical machine even if both of those machines have different processors, as long as the processors come from the same manufacturer.
Disaster Recovery with a Virtual Server
Disaster recovery is much quicker and operational continuity is maintainable by running your server in a virtual machine. The fact that your base operating system is still running and you can have a simultaneous instances of each application running on virtual machines, your business downtime can be reduced to zero or as close to it as is possible. The use of data on a network drive means that only your operating software would go down in the event of a disaster and running another instance makes recovery as simple as flicking a switch.