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Why virtualisation is the future of web hosting

On thing we've been proud of following our launch has been the industry reaction. For example, our technology partners Dell and AMD (whom we use for our servers, storage and processors) were impressed with our new offer and invited us to present it as a customer case study at a press event at Chelsea Football club in London a few weeks ago (we seem to be doing lots of Football club visits at the moment, the Nominet conference a few weeks ago was at Wembley Stadium. Who knows perhaps Arsenal is next...). It was a European wide event with over 50 journalists from different countries, so it was a great opportunity to share what we've been up to.

The theme of the event was data centre efficiency, looking at ways to improve performance and lower cost, which is something all businesses are thinking about as the recession kicks in, and the potential impact on the environment. For Dell, virtualisation was part of the story for how to achieve this. According to their studies, most servers run at around 10%-12% capacity. We have seen this ourselves in the 10 years we've been running hosting projects (in our life before Gandi). This means that roughly 90% of the machine resources are idle, consuming power, creating pollution, but not producing output. This also means that most customers are buying servers that are nearly 10 times over spec'ed for their requirements.

You might think this would be an unusual thing for Dell to point out. It implies that by using virtualisation you could take the jobs from 10 physical servers and put them onto a single server running 10 virtual shells that would now be running at 100% capacity. This would lead to 9 less servers sold for Dell, which is obviously not a great thing.

But Dell have been very brave here and recognise that virtualisation is so powerful that it is going to drive this market forward anyway, regardless of what they do about it. So they can either pretend its not going to happen, or they can educate their own customers, provide support and software to create virtualised environments and lead the way in this changing market.

And this is precisely why they were so interested in what we are doing at Gandi. We built our virtualisation offer so that you, our customers, can benefit from this kind of technology and efficiency without having to have large Dell contracts, or extensive IT teams.

With our offer you can create virtual servers to perform the tasks of dedicated physical servers, vary the power of each virtual server to your needs and save the power you're not using. Because of the flexibility of our system you can increase or decrease the number of shares (power) to meet the actual needs of the server, e.g. get it running closer to full capacity. This will lead to less cost and less waste.

And this is why it is the future of hosting. If you can have all of this power and flexibility which can scale up or down from the size of a small shared hosting pack to a large dedicated server (or cluster of servers), plus less pollution, less wasted space, why would you choose anything else?

Now if only someone would invite us to a conference at a decent football club we'd be really happy ;-)