Virtualization will have a dramatic impact on credit union data centers during the next three to five years, according to “Server Virtualization,” a white paper from the CUNA Technology Council.
Credit unions at all asset levels are pursuing server, storage, and desktop virtualization—focusing first on server virtualization. The chief impetus for the shift, notes the whitepaper, is to put the brakes on server sprawl, which contributes to a mushrooming physical footprint and expanding energy costs for power supply and cooling.
Virtualization allows credit unions to place several servers that use different operating systems on one virtual machine host. With an average of 12 servers or more per virtual machine host (depending the machine’s processor), this reduces to a handful the number of machines used by even the largest credit unions. And it allows system administration to move from working on widely scattered physical servers to a centralized virtual monitoring system.
Virtualization also permits more flexibility—allowing quick addition and deletion of virtual machine servers. A virtual system minimizes downtime for maintenance and testing, explains the whitepaper. While it used to take an average of two days to bring online a new physical box server, in a virtual environment, a credit union can add a server in a matter of hours or even minutes. This is important for two reasons—software testing and migration of data for backup and disaster recovery.
The whitepaper offers 10 tips for credit unions planning to move toward virtual servers: