Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector

The data hosting and data centre strategy sets the vision that Scotland’s public sector data hosting is cost-effective, carbon neutral and makes appropriate use of cloud technology, for the delivery of efficient and highly available ICT services.

Annex B - Virtualisation

Virtualisation allows multiple operating systems to each be run in a protected environment on a single physical server. Traditionally, in order to minimise issues which may arise due to conflicts between applications, many organisations deployed each different application to a different physical server. This can simplify management and deployment issues, but comes at the cost of a large number of servers, many of which may be significantly underutilised. By using virtualisation technologies, applications can be consolidated onto fewer physical systems, but can still be deployed in their own operating system environment and enjoy the benefits of the one application-one environment approach.

From a data centre point of view, this technology can therefore bring significant savings in space, power-usage, heat, and remote management. Virtual servers can also provide benefits in allowing for rapid establishment and re-establishment of testing environments, support for load balancing, and enabling simple and rapid provisioning of servers and systems on demand.

Virtualisation technologies are having and will continue to have a substantial impact on the delivery of ICT services and systems, and will be a key technology in rationalising and consolidating ICT services and investments. In addition to the data centre related savings from reduced hardware devices, virtualisation can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the time taken to commission a new server environment and can allow for greater utilisation of hardware resources.

Challenges to consider

It is important to understand the limitations and extent of existing licensing agreements with suppliers. Virtualisation maybe out with the scope of the existing agreements and therefore may result in additional cost being incurred.


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