Virtual computers and servers are a hot recent trend in IT from small businesses to enterprise, and it’s not without reason. Virtual technology brings efficiency, cost, and management benefits to a typical clinical server network.
What is a virtual server? Think of it this way – a server consists of data files stored on a disk, plus CPU and RAM resources to process the data, plus a method of input/output access. Suppose your medical network requires 5 servers for it’s various applications or modules.
You could set this up by purchasing 5 different towers or racks with disk drives, CPU and RAM – and most of us did, until just a few years ago. Or, you could purchase one robust server and within it create 5 different virtual servers, at much less overall cost. Did you know that the average hardware server operates at just 10-15% of resource capacity? Those “wasted resources” can be recovered and shared across all your virtual servers through virtual technology.
The two most common virtual machine foundations for Centricity Practice Solutions or Allscripts in use at this time are VMWare with it’s ESXi, vSphere and VCenter products and Microsoft’s with its HyperV technology.
Either way, they allow you to install the hypervisor framework software directly to “metal” (a single robust server), then create as many virtual software servers up to the overall hardware limitations of disk space, CPU and RAM. Adding new servers in this environment can then be a matter of a few clicks and configurations – deploying from an existing server template, or cloning an existing machine, or converting a hardware server into virtual through a “P2V” (physical to virtual) process then migrating it to a datacenter environment.
There are many benefits to employing virtual technology, whether at a datacenter level with hundreds of servers like Health1’s datacenter or at a local office level.Here are some highlights:
Resources– by sharing drive space, CPU, RAM, chassis, and I/O apparatus, “wasted resources” are minimized, as are hardware costs, plus it’s much easier to build in redundancy.
Deployment – as mentioned earlier, instead of waiting weeks for hardware servers to be ordered and arrive for rollout, new servers can be deployed and configured within hours.
Backups – another big plus is the ease and speed of which virtual servers can be backed up or copied to internal or network storage resources, and then brought back up as needed.
Management – having all servers in one place, accessible from one console, helps streamline monitoring and tech access.
Availability – given the above benefits, most companies will see a reduction in downtime and server incidents in a virtual environment.
Give us a call to further discuss how virtual Centricity or Allscripts technology might help your practice’s application needs!