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Solutions & Services > Data Center > Server Virtualization

Server Virtualization

What Is Server Virtualization?

Server virtualization allows users to maximize physical resources in the most efficient way possible. Server virtualization functions by running multiple, independent, virtual operating systems on a single computer.

Server virtualization transforms hardware into software, creating a virtual hardware resource on an x86-based server that incorporates CPU, RAM and hard drives.

What Does A Server Virtualization Configuration Look Like?

A thin virtualization layer partitions the physical server so you can run multiple servers simultaneously on a single server. The computing resources of the physical server are pooled and used by the virtual servers in a controlled manner. The virtual servers are isolated from the other virtual servers on the systems leaving them unaffected by the actions of the other virtual servers.

How Will Server Virtualization Solutions Benefit My Organization?

Server virtualization can help your organization to:

  • Increase server utilization
  • Centralize control of all desktop OS and applications
  • Reduce power and cooling requirements
  • Better control virus and malware outbreaks
  • Simplify management of OS and application patch updates
  • Reduce device theft
  • Increase data security and remote access

How Can I Help My Organization Embrace Server Virtualization Solutions?

When considering server virtualization, it’s important to ask the following questions:

  • What devices are needed and how are they used?
  • How secure are your data and computing devices?
  • How much are you spending in energy costs?
  • How are you managing application delivery and OS updates?

What Comprises A Server Virtualization Solution?

An effective server virtualization solution utilizes multiple components:


The most popular server virtualization platform, Hypervisor, runs without the use of any general-purpose operating system. An alternative platform known as hosted virtualization requires an operating system underneath the server virtualization software.

Server Hardware

While it’s possible to use existing server hardware, most companies upgrade to achieve increased processing speeds and memory capacity. Server hardware choices include: rack or blade; 2-way, high-end, or 16-way servers or Intel or AMD based processors.

Shared Storage

To gain maximum functionality of your virtualization environment, shared storage must be deployed. Storage protocols include fibre channel, iSCSI and NFS. Drive options include SATA and SAS drives as well as interconnect technology which includes SAS and fibre channel.

Network Hardware

Understanding your network environment is key as certain server virtualization features now require Gigabit connectivity. New technologies, such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), can reduce the number of Ethernet connections per server.


Software licensing is often the most misunderstood component of a server virtualization deployment. Every platform licenses software and each operating system has its own licensing rules. Working with a knowledgeable licensing specialist will help you ensure compliance.


In any server virtualization solution, multiple components will need to work together. Most server virtualization platforms require a support purchase with each software license.

Getting Started With Server Virtualization

Your CDW Account Manager and certified Solution Architects are ready to assist you with every phase of choosing and leveraging the right solution for your IT environment. Our approach includes:

  • An initial discovery session to understand your goals, requirements, and budget
  • An assessment review of your existing environment and definition of project requirements
  • Detailed vendor evaluations, recommendations, future design and proof of concept
  • Procurement, configuration, and deployment of the final solution
  • Ongoing product lifecycle support

Why VDI?

The Organization: Ransom Everglades School
The Location: Coconut Grove, FL
The Project: Simplify desktop management, improve security with virtual desktop infrastructure. Get the story »

Virtually Amazing

The Organization: Northeast Alabama Community College
The Location: Rainsville, AL
The Project: NACC cuts costs, increases reliability by deploying virtual desktops. Get the story »

Managing Data Overload

The Organization: Lewis Wagner LLP
The Location: Indianapolis, IN
The Project: Retool the infrastructure and move to a virtualized server and storage environment. Get the story »

Big Trees, Big Data

The Organization: The Campbell Group
The Location: Portland, OR
The Project: A unique investment management firm overhauls back-end systems. Get the story »

Balanced Resources

The Organization: Florida Institute of Technology
The Location: Melbourne, FL
The Project: Turn to consolidation and virtualization for less sprawl and more efficiency. Get the story »

Virtualization Partnerships and Certifications

  • Citrix Certified Administrator
  • Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer
  • Citrix National Partner
  • EMC Signature Velocity Partner
  • EMC Technology Architect
  • EMC Storage and Infrastructure Specialist
  • HP Preferred Business Partner
  • HP Master Accredited System Engineer
  • HP Enterprise Storage Elite Partner
  • IBM Premier Business Partner
  • Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
  • Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
  • NetApp Corporate Reseller
  • NetApp Accredited Storage Architect Professional
  • Symantec Platinum-Level Partner
  • Symantec Top-Selling LAR (Large Account Reseller) Partner
  • Symantec Windows and UNIX Authorized Partner
  • Symantec Technical Specialist
  • VMware Authorized Consulting Partner
  • VMware Lighthouse Partner
  • VMware National Partner
  • VMware Partner Technical Advisory Board Member
  • VMware Technical Sales Professional
  • VMware Sales Professional


  • VMware Americas SMB Partner of the Year — 2010
  • Microsoft Large Account Reseller of the Year — 2010