the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server



  • that dose not all ready use one



  • Well the benefits are about the same whether they are using one or are just about to. It should be noted that we are a full decade past the "nothing should be left physical" era, and that era only existed as an anomaly in the market because commodity low end hardware couldn't do enterprise virtualization until the early 2000s. The enterprise server market was virtualized partly since 1964 and almost entirely by the mid-70s. It was exclusively the commodity server market that lacked the power in the CPU to do this until later.





  • So first, the caveats. Why should you not virtualize?

    No reasons. None. Lots of people think that there are reasons why not to virtualize, but these are myths.

    There are insanely unique cases, like low latency trading applications, where physical installs can still be considered. But even in low latency trading firms, this represent .01% of their servers. And you'd have millions and millions of dollars of researchers on any team that could justify discussing something like that. It's an insanely unique workload. And they often don't use operating systems, either.

    So for all intents and purposes, there are zero downsides to virtualization. And if there are zero downsides, if any upsides exists at all, any, then virtualization would be a best practice to use every time - and it is.



  • @scottalanmiller i have to use small company so i have picked where my step dad works and i have to put something like why they should use it and some advantage and disadvantages about using one



  • @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller i have to use small company so i have picked where my step dad works and i have to put something like why they should use it and some advantage and disadvantages about using one

    In a few words:

    • You'll get hardware abstraction (easily move your workload to new bare metal)
    • You'll get yet another way for backups
    • You will be able to monitor the state of the machine on the hypervisor-level
    • A couple more benefits

    You lose:

    • Approx. 0.1% performance (really, that's a joke)


  • @thwr thanks



  • So on to the benefits. First the "hard virtualization benefits". These are the ones that are intrinsic to virtualization as a concept.

    1. Flexibility. Virtualization protects against "unknowns" in business. Most significant benefits from virtualization are not realized for years after the systems are initially installed.
    2. Stability. Virtualization provides an abstraction layer that allows for drivers, often the most dangerous part of code, to be standardized making operating systems more stable and reliable.
    3. Management. Virtualization provides more opportunities to manage systems. It provides a standard management abstraction capability that is, at best, more limited from hardware.
    4. Storage Management. Whether it is the ability to more discretely separate storage workloads, the ability to snapshot those workloads, the ability to migrate them, or the ability to move them independently of one another, virtualization gives us much greater storage capabilities.
    5. Backups. Even the most limited virtualization options include more backup and data protection options than physical installs.


  • @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @thwr thanks

    The point is, like SAM already told you: The least benefit you'll get is flexibility. There absolutely no reason not to use virtualization.

    Use the tiny layer of abstraction that comes for free, use one of the popular (and license free) Type 1 hypervisors (Hyper-V, Xen, KVM, VMWare ESXi etc) and you won't regret it.



  • Now the "soft benefits." These are benefits that are assumed to be part of virtualization but are really just standard "features" that virtualization products bring. These are not intrinsic but are essentially universal so are effective benefits of virtualization:

    1. Massively improved backup and restore capabilities. Many modern backup systems simply assume virtualization as a requirement.
    2. High Availability. Platform level high availability and even fault tolerance are only available in the commodity space via virtualization.
    3. Consolidation. The ability to merge many servers into one. This benefit is always available with all virtualization, but I move it to this list because, in theory, we are talking about a company so small as to only have one server to begin with. Consolidation can be done without virtualization, but not nearly as well, and is so important that most people consider this artefact to be the sole purpose of virtualization, but of course it is not.
    4. Standardization. Getting support for a non-virtual environment will invariably cause you to spend loads of time, with every interaction, explaining why you lack standard tools and capabilities and being lectured about how you need to be virtual without any exceptions.


  • It's important to note that virtualizing every server is one of the true best practices that we have in IT. There are loads of things that people call best practices that are not at all. People often confuse rules of thumb with BPs, but they are very different. A Best Practice, if it truly is, will be something you should do every time, no exceptions, without thinking about it. Sure, thinking about it to understand what makes it a best practice is good, but only if it never leads you to accidentally think that it is something that might be a consideration to not follow.

    A true best practice doesn't depend on how big your budget is, what business aspects are priorities, what technologies you are using, etc.





  • @thwr said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    Use the tiny layer of abstraction that comes for free, use one of the popular (and license free) Type 1 hypervisors (Hyper-V, Xen, KVM, VMWare ESXi etc) and you won't regret it.

    It is worth noting that within this list, ESXi really doesn't fit. Your short list of options is KVM, Hyper-V, and Xen. ESXi is ridiculously crippled and worthless in its free version; and ridiculously expensive otherwise.

    If the other three did not exist, it would be a fine product. But from a market perspective, it's a garbage product that should be generally avoided as it doesn't even remotely compete with any of its alternatives. So just ignoring it is often best, there's no way for it to be chosen in a small environment until you are already dedicated to paying many thousands of dollars for vendor support.

    Youtube Video





  • @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    Here are two articles that you should reference:

    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2015/04/virtualizing-even-a-single-server/
    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2012/11/virtualization-as-a-standard-pattern/

    I like that you pointed out consolidation in your journal, as a bonus. I've referenced that a few times with clients where we are discussing consolidation more as a cost benefit. Administration benefits, sure, but the cost is the big thing to me. There is an absolute ton of money to be saved by virtualizing everything. Looking at the cost of a recent 3 host set up with around 120 servers (VSAN and DR factored in), we saved hundreds of thousands by virtualizing.

    But that's moreso down the list after many of the other more important benefits such as flexibility, stability, recovery, etc.



  • @bbigford said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    Here are two articles that you should reference:

    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2015/04/virtualizing-even-a-single-server/
    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2012/11/virtualization-as-a-standard-pattern/

    I like that you pointed out consolidation in your journal, as a bonus. I've referenced that a few times with clients where we are discussing consolidation more as a cost benefit. But that's moreso done the list after many of the other more important benefits such as flexibility, stability, recovery, etc.

    I've noticed, not on ML but on different communities, that a common trick to "selling physical deployments" is to first claim that consolidation is the big (or only) selling point of virtualization - to the point of even trying to use the term virtualization to mean consolidation. Then pointing out that consolidation is not needed (at the time) and then claiming that virtualization (meaning consolidation) has no benefit.

    It requires the initial falsehood of the benefit of virtualization being consolidation. Then misusing the term. Then injecting the false logic of "we aren't going to use that benefit today so we don't want it for tomorrow". It requires three separate mental tricks to convince the listener that virtualization won't be good for them.

    And even after all of that, it still requires a fourth piece - that by lacking visible benefits we should default to not doing it. It's an injection of a false "default state". This is a very common tactic we see all over the place is "sales" discussions. Someone presents the thing that they want to "sell" as a default choice if you can't prove why not to do it - but refuse to ever defend their choice in reverse.



  • @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @bbigford said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    Here are two articles that you should reference:

    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2015/04/virtualizing-even-a-single-server/
    https://www.smbitjournal.com/2012/11/virtualization-as-a-standard-pattern/

    I like that you pointed out consolidation in your journal, as a bonus. I've referenced that a few times with clients where we are discussing consolidation more as a cost benefit. But that's moreso done the list after many of the other more important benefits such as flexibility, stability, recovery, etc.

    I've noticed, not on ML but on different communities, that a common trick to "selling physical deployments" is to first claim that consolidation is the big (or only) selling point of virtualization - to the point of even trying to use the term virtualization to mean consolidation. Then pointing out that consolidation is not needed (at the time) and then claiming that virtualization (meaning consolidation) has no benefit.

    It requires the initial falsehood of the benefit of virtualization being consolidation. Then misusing the term. Then injecting the false logic of "we aren't going to use that benefit today so we don't want it for tomorrow". It requires three separate mental tricks to convince the listener that virtualization won't be good for them.

    And even after all of that, it still requires a fourth piece - that by lacking visible benefits we should default to not doing it. It's an injection of a false "default state". This is a very common tactic we see all over the place is "sales" discussions. Someone presents the thing that they want to "sell" as a default choice if you can't prove why not to do it - but refuse to ever defend their choice in reverse.

    With the forth piece... Even if the only logic was "it costs less and consolidates", the obvious default is to virtualize. Very odd that the default would be to go against that. Financially irresponsible and flat out dangerous.



  • @bbigford said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    With the forth piece... Even if the only logic was "it costs less and consolidates", the obvious default is to virtualize. Very odd that the default would be to go against that. Financially irresponsible and flat out dangerous.

    Yes, it's amazing that such a terrible piece of logic so often exists, and yet it is a very standard trick that works very effectively. Look at how often I tell people to "reverse the question", that's always in reference to someone taking a "I'm going to do something ill-advised unless you can show me overwhelming proof that something else is better" rather than what they should be saying "I'll do whatever is the better choice."



  • Imagine if we applied the same logic to seat belts...

    If would be like saying that we refuse to wear seat belts because, be default, we would just not wear them. Then someone proves how they make you safer. Then we say "well, but is it enough safer"?

    Enough safer? Than what? What's the reason to not wear them? And then they say "No reason, I just refuse to do it unless the safety is overwhelmingly better, not just better."



  • Much of it, and I've literally had this discussion, is that people aren't always clear what "better" or "more" means. I know that that sounds crazy, but I've had real arguments where people kept being unable to understand just the word "more".

    It's like "which is heavier, a bound of feathers or a pound of lead" taken to a whole new level.



  • @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    Much of it, and I've literally had this discussion, is that people aren't always clear what "better" or "more" means. I know that that sounds crazy, but I've had real arguments where people kept being unable to understand just the word "more".

    It's like "which is heavier, a bound of feathers or a pound of lead" taken to a whole new level.

    A pound of lead, obviously, since lead is more heavy.



  • @thwr said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller i have to use small company so i have picked where my step dad works and i have to put something like why they should use it and some advantage and disadvantages about using one

    You lose:

    • Approx. 0.1% performance (really, that's a joke)

    Actually, as long as you use a modern guest operating system (As in newer than XP / server 2003 and equivalent supported Linux distributions), there is no performance loss given that you give appropriate hardware resources.



  • @tim_g said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @thwr said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller i have to use small company so i have picked where my step dad works and i have to put something like why they should use it and some advantage and disadvantages about using one

    You lose:

    • Approx. 0.1% performance (really, that's a joke)

    Actually, as long as you use a modern guest operating system (As in newer than XP / server 2003 and equivalent supported Linux distributions), there is no performance loss given that you give appropriate hardware resources.

    There is always some, but it is very tiny. And "all" modern systems have ridiculous amounts of spare capacity, so the loss is normally impossible to find. But it does exist, you can't have the abstraction without some impact. But as most of the virtualization is now in the hardware, and now that high performance PV drivers are universal, even those pieces are getting better.

    Now if we include Type-C virtualization, the we can say that there is no impact. Even in 2005, Solaris was universally virtualized (no non-virtual option existed) so there was, by default, no possible impact.



  • That why I placed "That's a joke" into brackets... The performance loss can be measured - in a lab. It does not really mean anything in almost all cases.



  • @scottalanmiller said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @tim_g said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @thwr said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller i have to use small company so i have picked where my step dad works and i have to put something like why they should use it and some advantage and disadvantages about using one

    You lose:

    • Approx. 0.1% performance (really, that's a joke)

    Actually, as long as you use a modern guest operating system (As in newer than XP / server 2003 and equivalent supported Linux distributions), there is no performance loss given that you give appropriate hardware resources.

    There is always some, but it is very tiny. And "all" modern systems have ridiculous amounts of spare capacity, so the loss is normally impossible to find. But it does exist, you can't have the abstraction without some impact. But as most of the virtualization is now in the hardware, and now that high performance PV drivers are universal, even those pieces are getting better.

    Now if we include Type-C virtualization, the we can say that there is no impact. Even in 2005, Solaris was universally virtualized (no non-virtual option existed) so there was, by default, no possible impact.

    Where the abstraction layer is just a 20 MB hypervisor (in Hyper-V, Ring -1), responsible for managing, separating, and
    controlling the partition access to the hardware. However, if using old or non-supported guest OSs, the parent partition intercepts the VM communication, emulating the Hypercalls. So, the result is poor performance and limitations to access the hardware, since the management OS needs to work as a bridge to allow the VM to access the hardware.

    Basically, I don't feel it's worth saying there is a performance degradation when using Hyper-V. It's certainly NEVER worth even considering as a disadvantage of virtualizing on a type 1 hypervisor.

    0_1517170430731_691541b5-e542-49e7-ab14-a0df26fb7c9b-image.png



  • @scottalanmiller are the soft benefits disadvantages



  • @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @scottalanmiller are the soft benefits disadvantages

    How are benefits a disadvantage?



  • @dashrender sorry i just realised what i put i will have to look for some disadvantages



  • @kelsey said in the benefits for a small company that wants to use a virtual server:

    @dashrender sorry i just realised what i put i will have to look for some disadvantages

    There really aren't any disadvantages. You will not have anything to list there that is related to the technology.

    If you have to list something, it will need to be things like:

    • will require new employee with virtualization skillset; or training for existing IT employees
    • will require a change (in order to implement this best practice)

    But these should never be a reason to do things the wrong way.



  • @tim_g ok thanks i think it means for the virtual server not for the company now but thanks anyway