Virtualization

Over the years computing hardware performance has grown at a dramatic rate. While there is always some hungry application waiting to gobble up all that power, the truth is most machines run at a small fraction of their total capacity, wasting precious space, power, administrative effort and other valuable resources.

Because of this virtualization is without a doubt the most discussed topic among data center managers. The proliferation of power hungry servers paired with ever increasing utility rates and continually shrinking budgets has created a huge demand for virtualization. Most CIOs are pushing hard to create internal virtualization initiatives; if they aren't yet, they are being bombarded on a daily basis with trade publications telling them that they should.

While there are key advantages to virtualization it is not without issues and trade-offs, however properly implemented virtualization is:

Checked Transparent to the end user
Checked Reduces capital expenditures on new hardware
Checked Reduces resource requirements – space, power, cooling, administration
Checked Increases reliability while increasing flexibility
Checked Lowers your carbon footprint


Hosted Virtual Server Solution

CMS hosts two different types of virtual servers, each having different advantages and trade-offs, depending on your specific needs and budget.

Virtuozzo Containers
We offer hosted Virtuozzo based VPSs which are very cost effective solutions for customers that need to host websites or applications and require the flexibility, scalability and security of a dedicated server but without the high costs.

We offer Virtuozzo containers for clients that want a reliable cost effective solution, but without the cost of the high availability back end. We offer VPS configurations running under the Windows 2003 64-bit data center and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 operating systems.

VMware Cluster
For clients that need the high availability of a clustered solutions and complete virtualization of the operating system, allowing greater flexibility, our VMware hosting product unleashes the power of VMware VirtualCenter. VirtualCenter allows rapid provisioning of virtual machines, performance monitoring and automatic optimization of resources.

VMware is the de-facto standard in virtualization with 99 of the Fortune 100 deploying it in their IT infrastructure. Our VMware hosting platform is more than an inexpensive way to get your feet wet with VMware; our platform is great for web applications, business continuity, or even for replicating Virtual Machines (Servers) hosted in your own environment for business continuity.

Why use CMS to host my VMware implementation?
Our advanced robust VMware architecture gives you instant access to capital intensive features without any capital outlay and without having to manage the Virtual infrastructure. Our VMware solutions features:

High Availability Cluster
Each virtual server lives in a cluster of physical machines. In the event of a hardware failure, VMware VMotion moves Virtual Servers between physical machines (without downtime) ensuring non-disruptive maintenance.

Redundant Storage Network (SAN)
Provides scalable, reliable storage. Customers can select standard single redundancy or double redundancy across two disk arrays for the highest level of data integrity. Single redundancy is your typical volume in RAID-6 on a reliable SAN. We also offer double redundancy where your data is written to two different physical disk arrays (aka frames or shelves) on the same SAN. As a point of clarification a SAN is not a single device, rather it is the Storage Area Network. The physical storage on the SAN can reside in multiple devices.

Scalability
Buy only the resources you need now, and grow them as demand increases with virtually limitless capacity. Add CPUs, RAM and hard disk space on the fly without any downtime.

How does it work?
Virtualization allows multiple "virtual" servers, potentially each with a different Operating System, to run in total isolation, side-by-side, on the same physical hardware. Each operating system sees a consistent set of hardware regardless of the actual physical hardware. The hardware consistency means that the Virtual Servers can be moved between physical machines without regard for the underlying hardware and without reconfiguring the operating system or applications.

Why would I choose to use a virtual server over a dedicated physical server?
Virtual servers are often better than dedicated physical servers because they are more reliable than hosting your application on a single piece of hardware. The virtual server is more scalable and fault tolerant as it lives in a cluster of physical hardware. Problems like drive failures and power supply problems aren’t an issue because you can quickly and easily move your virtual server to a different physical piece of hardware.

In addition, since virtual machines are encapsulated in a few files it makes it possible to rapidly save, snapshot or provision a virtual machine. Complete systems with fully configured applications can be deployed in seconds or moved between physical hardware in seconds and with zero-downtime.

Are there any compatibility issues I need to be aware of?
90% of applications and operating systems will run perfectly well in a virtualized environment. The most important thing is having a properly sized resource pool. The list of supported operating systems is growing, and the list is updated often. The most popular include: Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, Cent OS 5, Cent OS 4.5, SUSE Linux 10, Solaris 10, Red Hat AS, etc.

Can I virtualize an existing physical server?
You certainly can. VMware makes an application called VMware Converter (formerly P2V assistant) which can quickly convert a physical machine to a Virtual one. Virtuozzo and other virtualization software also has similar tools.

What's not a good candidate to host on a Virtual Server?
Anything that is very resource intensive isn’t a great fit for a virtual platform. Media streaming, busy databases and encoding or transcoding servers won’t perform well in this environment.

What do I need?
If you use one of our hosted virtual server solutions, almost nothing. We can provide you with a fully functioning Windows, Linux or FreeBSD Virtual Server. We manage the underlying, physical, hardware and network. The day-to-day management of the Virtual Server can be up to you, or we can manage the Virtual Server as well.