Let’s take a deeper look into server virtualization benefits and disadvantages

In our first class we discussed IT fundamentals. One of the topics explained was Virtualized Data Center, and more specifically, the benefits from it. There are two main positive outcomes from virtualization: increased hardware utilization and improved business processes.

After doing some research and reading articles about the topic, I found some less obvious perks that are significantly valuable.

High temperatures, when the air around the servers is higher than 27 degrees celcius, have been a common issue in large data centers. Equipment failure and system downtime result from cooling problems. (https://datacenterresources.com/articles/identifying-data-center-cooling-issues/) Virtualization has managed to help: less hardware means fewer servers and therefore, fewer machines that heat up. (https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-benefits-of-virtualization-in-the-data-center/)

Another solution that has been used, besides virtualization, is to replace racks that have solid fronts with perforated ones giving space for air movement. (https://datacenterresources.com/articles/identifying-data-center-cooling-issues/)

There are alternative uses to ‘wasted heat’: data centers, concerned about their energy efficiency, have looked for actions that would allow them to capture the hot air and use it for a different purpose. Some examples are the IBM data center in Switzerland that is looking to reuse its wasted heat to heat up a swimming pool. Elsewhere in Europe, several data centers in Stockholm are part of a project called ´Stockholm Data Parks´, associated with the government and the local energy provider, and they are working on channeling waste heat toward providing heating to private homes. (http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/data-centers-that-recycle-waste-heat) (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171013-where-data-centres-store-info—and-heat-homes)

Another important indirect impact of virtualization is on our environment. As we discussed in class the increase of computer efficiency quickly results in less hardware utilization and in consequence a decrease of power use, meaning that the reduction of physical servers and of energy consumption will continue to help our planet. At the same time, companies that undertake this process are regarded in a better light by their customers and the public in general, as their efforts show that they do indeed care about their carbon footprint. Yay, go green! (https://www.networkworld.com/article/3263399/virtualization/top-10-ways-server-virtualization-improves-the-data-center.html)

Clearly virtualization has become a technology with a vast number of benefits; simultaneously however, I found some disadvantages through my research that are worth taking into account.

As many implementations of new technologies, it is the case with virtualization that comes with the usual drawbacks: it can be costly, time consuming and may require personnel training.

Depending on the current state of the software and hardware of the company, it might be necessary to invest in those assets in order to transition to virtualization. (https://milner.com/company/blog/technology/2015/07/14/the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-virtualization)

The transition might required the data center to assign an IT administrator and to educate the employees of the use of the new technology, as it demands change of thinking and improvement of technical skills. (https://4sysops.com/archives/seven-disadvantages-of-server-virtualization/)

As many technologies change in a company, a massive IT one like virtualization takes time to implement, from making sure that the data center has the appropriate hardware and software to the training of their human resources. (https://milner.com/company/blog/technology/2015/07/14/the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-virtualization)

Through my research I have learned that depending on the data center the advantages can be significantly larger than the disadvantages, making virtualization an obvious decision. What is your opinion? Do you think there are more advantages or disadvantages to Virtualization? How about Containers? Should data centers use them to replace Virtualization?