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MSD IT's Virtual Server service provides application servers for departments who wish to avoid the cost and responsibility of managing their own servers

The MSD IT Virtual Server service provides dependable and resilient application servers for research groups and departments who wish to avoid the cost and responsibility of managing their own servers.  Utilising industry-leading virtualisation software from VMware and high quality server and storage components we are able to offer reliable and highly-available virtualised servers at relatively low cost.

Availability

Our high-availability servers are mirrored synchronously – in real time as they are created and  modified – to an identical system on another of our sites. Almost every component of the system is redundant to protect against the failure of single devices in the system.  The ability to move virtualised servers to other physical servers either on the same site or another gives our virtual servers expected availability in excess of 99.99% and offers a complete failover option to another site in the event of a disaster affecting one of our server rooms.

Reliability

Backing filestores are deployed over redundant disk arrays in a RAID 6 configuration which offers good protection against multiple disk failures.  This is the same system which is used for our standard Novell system which has proved its reliability over many years of operation.

Backup

We use a number of separate backup technologies to ensure we can recover virtual servers or their data in the event of a problem.  Virtual servers are imaged daily allowing for the fast recovery of the complete server system.  Individual filestores associated with virtual servers can be backed up daily to our own internal disk-based backup service which offers recovery of files from any day within the previous 6 months. Virtual Server filestores will also be backed up to the University central backup service which keeps the most recent version of a file and just one prior to that.

Hosted or Managed?

We are able to offer virtual servers on a 'hosted' or 'managed' basis.  A hosted virtual server is one where MSD IT provide the server and our responsibility is simply to keep it available.  System Administration, security, software installation, support and licensing is the responsibility of the end-user.  There are some limitations to the hosted virtual server option; because this is a low-cost option we are unable to provide system support for those who choose the 'hosted' option so we reserve the right to decline to offer a hosted Virtual Server if we are not satisfied it will be managed by a competent System Administrator.  We do this to protect the integrity of our systems and networks from negligence.  A managed virtual server is fully supported and managed by our team of experienced staff and we provide all the above services on behalf of the user.

Costs

Please see our charges page, outlining the cost of MSD IT Virtual Servers in the current financial year.

Registration

Register here for the provision of a virtual server.