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How to Set Up a Virtualization Server

virtualized serversVirtualization can improve just about any computing environment. In a nutshell, virtualization uses a single physical server to run a number of virtual servers. Virtualization decreases your operational expenditures and helps you to utilize more of the hardware you have at your disposal. Organizations with any number of servers can benefit from virtualization. You just need to know where to begin.

The Host

The most important aspect to server virtualization when you’re in a small computing environment is the host server. This is the one physical piece of equipment that will run multiple servers. This host requires significantly less in terms of resources than multiple servers would.

Depending on the virtualization solution you choose to use, whether it’s VMware, Hyper-V or another package, you’re going to be able to run a number of servers. This is because many server types tend to run idle a large portion of the time. When a server is in use, the needs are spread out across resources including RAM, CPU, disk, network I/O and more. A virtualization server with four cores can likely run twice that number of virtual servers.

Keep in mind, of course, that some servers require a heavier workload. Database servers tend to be more intensive, for example.

CPU Needs

On average, having more cores in the server is more important than higher-speed CPUs when you’re running a virtualization server. So, a 6-core server at 2.4 GHz trumps a 4-core server at 2.93 GHz. This allows you to spread the virtualization load across more CPUs, giving you more consistent performance across the board.

RAM and Storage

After CPU considerations, RAM and Storage are next. The faster the RAM for your virtualization server, the better. It’s much harder to oversubscribe RAM than it is to oversubscribe CPU resources. Some virtual servers require a specific, fixed amount of RAM be allocated, in its entirety, to a given virtual server, so the more the better.
Storage needs can typically be met by SANs or NAS in larger environments, but in smaller environments the host server may need to handle storage. More disks are better, preferably via a RAID controller than runs RAID 5 or RAID 6.

Other Considerations

Your top concerns for virtualization are CPU, RAM and storage. Beyond that, however, you need to look at network interfaces, power supplies, the virtualization software itself and other areas of concern. Ultimately, the success or failure of your virtualization efforts may depend on how you build this first server.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.