Conceptual computers

The CCIM Institute is become just a little more virtual. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started replacing aging, single-use servers. Rather than buy another small box for each purpose, we’ve purchased a couple of fast, powerful Dell boxes, installed VMWare, and turned each into a host for several virtual servers.

Currently, we’ve put two MX, two DNS servers, a batch reporting tool server, and a backup software hosting server into the virtual space, running Windows 2003, Windows XP, and Fedora Linux. These systems will continue in test mode through the New Year’s holiday and move into production in early January, allowing us to shut down or repurpose some of that old hardware.

Reducing the number of physical boxes has some real benefits. Space, heating, and cooling are the most obvious. (In the rebuild of the 8th floor, our server room lost about 36 sq ft.) Virtualization also gives us the ability to add additional single purpose servers with no marginal cost, other than the possible cost of an operating system license. We can also quickly clone an existing server to create a test environment, add or remove memory from a virtual server in a matter of minutes, and re-allocate resources dynamically.