MADISON, Wis. (10/8/09)--Virtualization, the ability to partition a physical computer server into multiple functioning machines, has gained recognition and acceptance in recent years and is now considered viable in terms of start-up costs for many credit unions, according to a new white paper, “Server Virtualization,” from the CUNA Technology Council. About 70% of credit unions with assets greater than $200 million were surveyed for CUNA’s 2008-2009 Technology and Spending Report. It indicates plans toward putting virtual server technology in place within the next three years--a signal that the credit union movement is traveling at a rapid pace toward the next generation of system processing and storage. According to the paper, server virtualization has many advantages for credit unions and their data centers, including:
* Massive reductions in the number of servers needed overall--a process known among information technology (IT) professionals as “rack consolidation”; * Reductions in space and energy needed to run and cool the IT infrastructure, which generates a smaller carbon footprint and lower energy costs; * Vast reductions in the time needed to bring new servers and applications online; * The ability to easily switch virtual machines with functions or applications heavily in demand over the one virtual machine host to another to avoid overloading, slowdowns, or a system crash; and * Significant decrease in time needed to switch servers for disaster recovery. For example: Heritage CU, Madison, Wis., with $153 million in assets, downsized to two virtual server host machines from 16 physical box servers. Conversely, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa., with $3.5 billion in assets, dropped to eight virtual server host machines from 100 physical box servers.
The paper also explores different models of server virtualization, including the virtual machine model, which currently dominates the market. Four in-depth case studies of credit unions also are presented with expert advice on topics such as storage area networks and desktop virtualization. For more information, use the links.