The particular type of virtualization a private cloud is built on needs to be fully considered by businesses trying to decide whether a private cloud is for them. The private cloud can involve a few different types of hypervisors, however, and a few different infrastructure arrangements. They are not all the same.
VMware is an infrastructure virtualization provider and is used by about 75 percent of businesses that use virtualized servers. About three-quarters of businesses with 50 or more employees use virtual machines, meaning many businesses of all sizes use VMware. There are also many kinds of organizations much smaller than 50 people that benefit from running a VMware-powered private cloud. Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT report shows that 15 percent of the average IT budget for businesses with less than 100 employees is dedicated to virtualization.
Why is it so popular? VMware is recommended by most IT professionals as the best virtualization solution for the widest range of business infrastructure needs, and while it is often compared with a single competitor, VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V are best suited to different sets of requirements. VMware is the original innovator of server virtualization and has been an enterprise virtualization leader since the early 2000s.
What Does VMware Do?
VMware vSphere is software used to build flexible, high-performance private clouds. It includes the ESXi hypervisor, which is a Tier I or “bare metal” hypervisor, meaning it does not run on a separate operating system. Network administrators generally consider vSphere to be intuitive to use and appreciate the flexibility it offers for different types of virtual servers and governance capabilities.
Virtualization is the infrastructure change which enables cloud computing. The hypervisor is the software that creates and runs virtual machines, which can run different types of environments, sharing a single hardware processor. They are used to, for instance, run environments with different operating systems for different applications. Virtualization allows resources to be dedicated as needed, without the normal constraints of legacy on-premise networks, in which different applications run on their own particular physical servers.
A private cloud runs best on Dedicated Hosting, which guarantees resource availability. Managing and maintaining the cloud, however, makes running your own VMware Private Cloud inefficient for many businesses. When bundled with other services, like a NetApp storage area network (SAN), a managed VMware solution bridges the gap between global enterprise-grade cloud performance and the limited resources most companies have to dedicate to cloud infrastructure management.
Businesses running a VMware Private Cloud can scale their VMs up or down on demand, and quickly and easily add, deploy, and load-balance a new node. A hardware failure can be detected, repaired, and the node brought back online without users noticing. In the event of a failed hypervisor, a live migration of VMs to an online hypervisor by vSphere’s vMotion keeps your site running the entire time.
Because it powers high-performance private clouds, VMware is often characterized as being most appropriate for large organizations. Just as an increasing number of small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from the agility and flexibility of a VMware Private Cloud, however, quality managed VMware solutions have made the same performance now just as achievable for businesses without large IT departments.
The one catch for administrators to keep in mind is that the value of a managed service is reduced if the service provider is not responsive enough to perform any required management within the flow of the business process. This is particularly true for solutions like private cloud, which provide value by making infrastructure more flexible. That flexibility is ultimately ensured by the SLAs and real-life support response times of the managed service provider looking after that infrastructure.
How Can It Help My Company?
There are several benefits that private clouds can provide businesses with, but the main reasons are to improve the efficiency and flexibility of their resource use while keeping full control of the underlying hardware and ensuring resource availability. Some organizations deploy a private cloud for enhanced security, resilience, or regulatory compliance if they deal with certain kinds of sensitive data.
If you are an administrator needing to provision a new application without adding network or storage resources, VMware makes the process fast and easy, the environment stable, and the application performance consistent. VMware allows admins to prioritize their virtual machines, allocating resources to critical workloads when necessary, and reallocating them as the demand returns to normal.
In combination with a NetApp SAN, a VMware Private Cloud provides enhanced protection against disasters. Load balancing prevents individual VMs from being overwhelmed. Beyond that, by spinning up an extra server to create an N+1 server array, a redundant environment is created, in which a given server can be updated, rebooted, or repaired without causing downtime. VMware is also very secure, with virtual machines fully isolated from and invisible to each other, and a small attack surface at the infrastructure layer.
One of the main competitors of VMware in the hypervisor space is Microsoft. Microsoft’s Hyper-V, while another quality hypervisor, runs on Windows, and comes with all of the attendant costs and upgrade requirements. VMware also does not require secure patches, which require virtual machines running on Hyper-V to be taken offline. Liquid Web recommends VMware for maximum flexibility and performance.
For many businesses, some workloads, such as testing and development, are best run in a private cloud environment, while other workloads can remain in their legacy environment. Businesses often deploy a private cloud as part of a hybrid network architecture in order to maximize their agility with the greatest cost-efficiency. This is another case in which a managed service backed by quality support makes it easy for a small or medium-sized business to take advantage of the best technology available without drawing employee time away from core responsibilities.
Growing businesses with diverse applications often evolve towards managed hybrid environments to leverage the best technology for each workload. Businesses with applications running in shared hosting or entry-level cloud environments that want to improve the efficiency of their resource use should consider upgrading to a VMware Private Cloud.