Virtual Server Hosting Service Description
The Virtual Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provided by ITS uses VMWare ESX on redundant Dell Servers connected to a Dell Equal Logic SAN to host Windows or Linux servers.
Specifications for each virtual server (VMWare Guest) are selected from a menu of CPU capacity, maximum committed RAM and amount of storage required.
Changes to this configuration can be requested at any time. Associated charges will be applied at that time.
Department system administrators will have the same administrative rights as if they were hosting their own server and are expected to manage their virtual server as such.
The ability to create one snapshot of each VMWare Guest is included. This can be useful when troubleshooting a problem or testing software upgrades. Note: this does not replace backups.
Backup services consisting of one full backup each week with daily incrementals are available for each VM Guest.
The disk store (which includes backups) is replicated off-campus for disaster recovery purposes. If an incident causes an extended outage, servers will be restored on a reduced capacity off-site system until the on-campus environment is restored. (Coming soon)
For departments that require multiple servers, a pool of resources can be assigned. The departmental administrator can then manage the Resource Pool, allocating CPU, RAM and storage assigned to the pool as needed.
Help with migration of an existing physical server to a virtual server is included.
Reduced timeline from decision to deployment of new servers
Because virtual servers share enterprise class hardware with other virtual servers, deploying a new server in a virtual environment is a software change. The typical time from approval to deployment is 3 days.
Easy to grow or shrink capacity to meet needs
Performance capacity and storage capability can change at a customer’s request without having to replace or install additional hardware.
REDUCES COSTS / FREES RESOURCES
No need to maintain or upgrade physical hardware
As part of the service, ITS manages the maintenance, repair and upgrade of the server, storage and backup hardware, freeing up time of departmental system administrators.
Less expensive than physical servers
Spreading the cost of the hardware over many virtual servers reduces the cost. This economy of scale in turn allows for a design with increased service reliability at unit costs similar to individual implementations without the reliability features. Windows server licenses are included in pricing.
Reduces energy consumption (Green IT)
Combining multiple servers into one hardware platform reduces the amount of power and cooling required.
Frees up floor space in department areas
Placing the servers in the virtual environment means space previously designated for computing equipment becomes available for other uses.
Eliminates electrical and cooling requirements in department spaces
Additional costs associated with providing uninterrupted power and temperature controlled areas in departmental spaces are eliminated.
RELIABILITY / SECURITY
Located in a secure data center
The ITS Data Center, located in Building 14 – Computer Science,
- is physically secured
- is staffed 5am-2am, 7 days a week
- has a fire suppression system that will not damage equipment
- is temperature controlled
- provides uninterrupted power
Data is backed up on a daily basis
Virtual servers and associated data are backed up on a daily basis. Backups of each virtual server are performed once per week, with backups of incremental changes (since that full backup) performed every day.
Quick recovery time in case of hardware failure
The enterprise class design of the IaaS environment enables ITS to move, using software, a virtual server from one hardware platform to another in the event of a failure. This enables rapid service recovery since it is not necessary to reconfigure another piece of hardware to restore service.
Minimal service outage when hardware is upgraded
The enterprise class design of the IaaS environment enables ITS to move, using software, a virtual server from one hardware platform to another, and then back again once equipment is upgraded. This enables ITS to upgrade hardware without long service outages.
Off-site disaster recovery services (coming soon)
Backups of each virtual server are stored off-site on a secondary system. In the event of a disaster in the data center that disables the primary virtual hosting environment, the client’s virtual server can be restored on the secondary system until the primary system is restored.
The ITS data center provides firewall protection that can be configured specifically for each virtual server’s needs.