In the dynamic landscape of IT, server virtualization works and has proven to be a transformative force over the past decade. It has revolutionized the deployment of workloads, empowered large data centres with hypervisors for cloud applications, and accelerated the provisioning of compute resources. The synergy of purpose-built virtual servers with virtual machines, other virtualization platforms as well and other virtualization software is making a difference, though not as hyped, and stands as another innovative element reshaping the landscape of modern IT. Understanding the advantages of purpose-built servers and virtualization software is crucial for making informed business decisions, maximizing ROI, and ensuring optimal server performance in large data centres engaged in server consolidation.
This post explores the benefits of purpose-built servers and virtualization, shedding light on how they synergize to enhance the IT infrastructure that is a part of their diverse data centre.
Defining Purpose-Built Servers
As the name suggests, purpose-built virtual servers are designed with a specific use case or application in mind. Virtual servers are optimized for particular applications, outperforming generic servers and meeting requirements that other servers may fall short of.
Consider a storage server as a common type of purpose-built virtual server. The specifications required for a NAS (Network Attached Storage) virtual server vastly differ from those needed for a server handling CPU-intensive big data analytics. Premio, for example, manufactures diverse storage servers tailored for specific use cases, from all-flash storage arrays for CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to servers optimized for virtual desktop infrastructure/hyper-converged infrastructure.
In essence, the high-level benefit of purpose-built servers mirrors the advantage of specialization in other fields: excelling in a specific function.
Understanding Server Virtualization
IT, characterized by layers of abstraction, finds another example in virtualization. It abstracts compute resources through a hypervisor, with operating systems like Red Hat or any other compatible solutions installed atop the hypervisor. The hypervisor provides virtualized CPU, RAM, storage, and other resources to guest operating systems, often referred to as virtual machines. Focusing on Type 1 bare-metal hypervisors, commonly used in data centres, these include VMware’s ESXi, Xen Project, and Microsoft’s HyperV.
Virtualization works when it replaces the one-to-one “role-to-physical server” model, offering operational flexibility, improved resource utilization, and an eco-friendly solution. This shift enables on-demand creation of development, QA, and test environments, simplifies provisioning through centralized management, and enhances backup and recovery processes through virtual machine snapshots.
The Crucial Role of Purpose-Built Servers in Virtualization
While virtualization solutions offer numerous benefits, selecting the right hardware for the hypervisor is paramount. Beyond meeting minimum requirements, optimizing performance demands architecting a server solution tailored to mission-critical applications and services. At DS Total Solutions, in collaboration with partners like Fortinet and Dell, we specialize in designing data centre servers and storage solutions purpose-built for various applications, including virtualization solutions.
Key Considerations for Purpose-Built Servers in Virtualization:
- CPUs: Hypervisors like VMware’s ESXi 6.5 require CPUs with multiple cores. The number of cores and support for hyperthreading become crucial factors for optimal performance in virtualized environments.
- Memory: High-density RAM is critical for virtualization, supporting the performance of virtualized environments that are best for cloud computing. Server virtualization benefits in supporting multiple DDR4 memory banks.
- Network Connectivity: With growing power consumption and network traffic centralized on hypervisors, servers must have adequate cloud computing throughput and bandwidth. Purpose-built servers should feature at least two Gigabit Ethernet adapters.
- Storage: Fast and efficient resources, high-throughput, and reliable storage in data centres are vital for virtualized production environments. Flash storage is particularly beneficial in virtual environments and in cost savings, hence, virtualization works.
- Power, Redundancy, and High Availability: Virtualization consolidates server criticality, emphasizing the importance of redundant power supplies, hot-swappable features, and high availability for uninterrupted operations.
- Server Management: Out-of-band control, facilitated by features like IPMI, is crucial for seamless server management, especially when hypervisor utilities are inaccessible.
While use computing cases vary, experts familiar with virtualized workloads in data centres can offer guidance on solutions tailored to specific needs.
Customized Servers Aligned with Your Goals
At DS Total Solutions, we understand the significance of server consolidation and how virtualization works to streamline data centre operations. In collaboration with partners like Fortinet and Dell, we specialize in designing data centre servers and storage solutions purpose-built for various applications, including virtualization solutions. For a tangible example, explore our case study on how we assisted a leading DDI solutions provider in achieving a 300% performance improvement while enhancing reliability and preorders. Contact us today to embark on architecting a solution that meets your unique business demands.