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From the Bloggers Bench: Why Virtualize?

– Post by A.J. Stringham, IT Support Agent

To date…

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I had plans for the future. Since my initial build, I have installed Server 2003 R2 Standard (which I used to beta test Spiceworks 6.2), pfsense, Linux Mint Maya version x64 and a Unitrends EB Free. I have also tried CentOS, Cacti, Server 2012 and Windows 8. All this I have done without ever putting a disc into the physical machine or even touching the physical machine (most while I’m not even home…). Who wouldn’t love the idea of being able to try something new without losing what they already have?

Spreading the love

I have become a huge advocate of virtualization, as those who know me, both in person and online, have seen. Now, granted, not everyone has the ability to build a server, either due to lack of experience or funds, but not many can justify to someone why they shouldn’t virtualize their environment. I have used Teamviewer meetings to show many people my setup and how ESXi works. I remember the first time I was shown the vSphere client and saw what ESXi looked like when you plugged a monitor into the physical machine. It can be a bit nerve-racking and intimidating if you don’t have, at least, a point of reference to go from. I have tried to ease that transition for many and do my best to help people, most whom I’ve never met. There is a certain good feeling you get when you know you just made someone’s life easier for a long, long time.

Why should you virtualize?

If you follow me on Spiceworks at all, you will see that I am always talking about my experience and why virtualization is the way to go. In the future, I hope to take a non-virtualized environment and show my employer why they should virtualize. The idea of taking five to seven servers down to one or two not only cuts costs in original purchase and support but also in power consumption and physical time configuring each machine. Instead of having to setup a KVM switch or switch a monitor cable, keyboard and mouse around, you configure two. When I say two, I am assuming you have a failover server setup or that you are splitting the servers between two machines.

One more thing I think is great about virtualizing is the security it gives you. Say someone breaks in and steals your server(s). A thief with computer experience might be able to crack a password on a physical install. However, what average thief will have the vSphere client and the ability to crack your ESXi password after changing the IP to match their network and then remote into your guests? I dare say next to none.

In conclusion

I work with some of the best techs in the country and all of them support virtualization. The entire market is moving that way. So again, you must ask yourself not, why should I virtualize, but rather, is there any reason I can’t? With the innovation of P2V (physical to virtual) programs and the need to over time upgrade systems, at your next budget meeting, take a look at your options. You, and your superiors, may be pleasantly surprised at what virtualization can offer to your company. You’ll be glad you did.


Get to know A.J. – Read 10 Questions With…A.J. Stringham



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