Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines Should be Part of Your 5 Year Growth PlaN

Virtual Machines (VM): A virtual machine is a computer file, typically called an image, that behaves like an actual computer. In other words, creating a computer within a computer. It runs in a window, much like any other program, giving the end-user the same experience on a virtual machine as they would have on the host operating system itself. The virtual machine is sandboxed from the rest of the system, meaning that the software inside a virtual machine can’t escape or tamper with the computer itself. This produces an ideal environment for testing other operating systems including beta releases, accessing virus-infected data, creating operating system backups, and running software or applications on operating systems they weren’t originally intended for. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically affected businesses in many ways. If you are not a grocery store or a shipping company, you likely are feeling some effects on your business and your revenue. This has caused a mass shift to remote work environments to eliminate the second-largest monthly expense to a business, THEIR RENT! Imagine how much overhead will go away without the cost of rent, large industrial office equipment, furniture, décor, physical security systems, HVAC, electricity, wiring, servers, SANs, etc. If you are looking at consolidation you must first answer the question, how do you maintain productivity with the shift to remote work? The first step is virtualization with the use of virtual machines.  

Virtualization is not new. What is new is the ability to do so without the large cost of onsite or offsite physical equipment in your office or data center. Microsoft Azure empowers businesses to develop their own unique environment within their cloud platform and only pay for what you use. No more server refreshes, no more SAN refreshes. A simple and easy solution and an incredible bang for your buck! Below is a description of virtual machines, the different types, and the pros and cons of each.  

Multiple virtual machines can run simultaneously on the same physical computer. For servers, the multiple operating systems run side-by-side with a piece of software called a hypervisor to manage them, while desktop computers typically employ one operating system to run the other operating systems within its program windows. Each virtual machine provides its own virtual hardware, including CPUs, memory, hard drives, network interfaces, and other devices. The virtual hardware is then mapped to the real hardware on the physical machine which saves costs by reducing the need for physical hardware systems along with the associated maintenance costs that go with it, plus reduces power and cooling demand. 

Host: This is the physical equipment that the VM/VMs operate on. The Host dictates how many VMs you can run and their performance. If you own your own equipment, you are limited to the resources on that machine. The best practice is to buy a host/hosts that are scalable for your 5-year growth plan; making the costs hard to swallow.  

The two Basic types of VMs are: 

  1. Process VM: This VM allows you to run a single process as an application on a host 

  • SQL Database  
  • Accounting software 

  1. System VM: Fully virtualized VM designed to be a substitute for a physical machine 

  • Virtual Desktop 

  • Application server 

In order to empower your business and employees to work remotely, you need to mix and match these types of servers to form your unique environment. Once virtualized, the redundancy and flexibility of your system are built-in. From a cost perspective, you only pay for what you use so the 5-year lump in your throat equipment refresh for scalability is GONE! Lastly, this environment can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection so no more need for the overhead of the office.