Virtualisation

Virtualisation has changed the face of IT in schools. Once a technology only affordable to corporate enterprise, it has now evolved into a fully scalable product ideally suited to education where every penny matters. With the ability to reduce hardware and running costs by up to 60%, virtualisation software can redefine the way your school runs its IT networks, eliminating downtime and giving you a plethora of disaster recovery options.

What is virtualisation?

Virtualisation is a software technology that allows you to load and run multiple servers on the same physical machine. That is to say your mail server, your file and printer sharing server and your database servers retain their individual identities and settings but would all run on the same piece of hardware.

How will virtualisation help me?

As well as improving network resilience and continuity, virtualisation allows you to get the best return on the hardware you have by utilising untouched processing and storage capacity. If you have more than one physical server, virtualisation can also load balance your virtual servers. At particularly busy periods for your mail server, your other virtual servers can be 'moved' with no disruption to another server allowing the mail server to use the full capabilities of its host machine. Once the high loading subsides, the virtual servers are spread evenly once more.

How does virtualisation aid resilience and continuity?

Because these Virtual Machines (VMs) are essentially self-contained files, if the physical hardware running them develop a problem it's very easy to move them to another host machine. When you configure a second physical server to run as a standby machine, should a problem occur your users can be instantly shifted onto the standby VMs, often without any downtime or disruption.

The Next Stage

Virtualisation can only give you one layer of business continuity. However it works very well with Storage Area Networks (SAN). With a mirrored SAN solution all of your data, including your VMs, are stored in two different locations simultaneously. If the primary SAN fails i.e. a hard disk or RAID array fails, everything continues to work using the secondary SAN without any interruption. It's even possible to add a third SAN to keep a copy of your data and VMs ready to take over if disaster strikes.

If you'd like a free consultancy meeting to find out whether your school could benefit from a virtualisation solution, email us at info@ictfoundry.co.uk and we'll give you a call back at a time to suit you.