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After talking to a friend who works for a virtualization firm, I started to think whether it could be of benefit to my small company. Right now we have our IIS web server on one server, and our SQL database on another. What he was saying is that with virtualization you could put both operating systems and application stacks onto one piece of physical hardware and then just get a massive big server with lots of CPU, RAM, and RAID 5 or 10 for redundancy. This saves us on the costs of buying essentially duplicate amounts of hardware to backup each IIS and database server (I think?)

This all sounds fine and dandy, but what is the difference compared to me simply installing IIS onto my SQL Server and serving websites/data on the same box with 1 operating system? To me I save the overhead of having a virtualization environment, but achieve the same goal. Also, are there not performance concerns with having all your eggs in one server-basket?

One disadvantage that I could see is that it would be more difficult to split those two "logical" servers at some point down the road. However, I feel like I am missing the point of virtualization....

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In such a small environment, I would say that virtualization is likely overkill.

Where it starts to come into valuable play is where you're running dozens, scores, and hundreds of servers, but none of them is heavily-utilizing its hardware.

Profile your current environment: are both servers sitting at under 40% utilization? If so, then you're possibly a candidate for consolidation.

However, with just a couple boxes, it is [likely] easier to manage if you leave them as they are - plus, if/when one gets busier, you won't need to re-split them.

The only benefit I could see for virtualization in your current environment would be giving yourself future expandability, and the ability to swiftly migrate a server to new/updated hardware, and not need to worry about the underlying host quite as much.

Regardless of what path you take, make sure your backup strategy works: test those backups routinely, or else when one of those pieces of hardware does croak, you'll be up the proverbial creek :)

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Alright thanks for the insight Warren. I still need to mull it over, but I think you are right on this one. Backups, for sure! –  MikeMurko Jul 18 '11 at 14:55

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