Today, many popular manufacturing applications are certified for virtualization and with good reason. The benefits of virtualization, including cost control, higher productivity, and better long-term planning, are indisputable. Yet, some manufacturing engineers and plant IT departments are missing out on these benefits because they think virtualization involves too much risk — a point of view that is not entirely without merit.
It’s true that virtualization, the practice of using a software layer to let one physical computing server run multiple virtual machines, exposes a greater number of applications to downtime. While virtualization can increase redundancy and availability, it does not guarantee continuous operation. After all, the virtualization server still has the potential to be a single point of failure for all the applications it supports. Therefore, when you consolidate dozens of virtual machines on a single physical server, that system becomes mission critical — even if all the applications it’s running are not—making downtime prevention all the more important.