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Information Technology

Information on the virtualisation of server systems

Why virtualisation?

Virtual servers are independent and secure systems, i.e. each virtual server works and operates like a completely independent system. In addition to the advantages of simplified management of the virtual servers, optimal utilisation of resources is ensured. Since virtualisation can lead to considerable hardware savings, it is an important green IT measure. When used correctly, virtualisation has a clearly positive environmental effect. In addition, the provisioning of a virtual system takes considerably less time than the procurement and installation of a hardware server.

Virtualisation environments

The infrastructure department of the HZB IT (IT-IS) offers staff and users the opportunity to use the infrastructure for their own virtualised servers. The hardware - including that on which the virtualised systems reside - is located in the air-conditioned, burglar-proof server rooms at the Adlershof and Wannsee sites. We use VMware to virtualise data centre infrastructure.

The virtual environments for development, test and productive systems are particularly relevant for you as a user.

For your information: development and test servers use relatively fewer hardware resources than production servers. This can lead to slower runtimes and sometimes minimal restrictions in performance.

You can read below how we differentiate between development, test and productive systems.

Productive environment

Our highly available general purpose cluster for productive systems currently has a size of 120TB.

In addition, we operate a DMZ and a standalone cluster.

Standalone hosts

On the standalone hosts, i.e. independent physical servers, there are virtualised systems for core services such as DHCP, DNS and the load balancers. These services are the last to be shut down before a power shutdown and the first to be restarted.

For more information on our virtualisation environment for servers, please contact the Infrastructure Department (IT-IS).

Development, test or productive system?

We divide server systems into development, test and productive systems. Therefore, when we provide you with a server, we will want to know what the purpose of the server is.

How do we differentiate between the systems?

  • Development server: Development environment. Working version of the application/service running on the server. This will be run locally.
  • Test server: Test environment. All errors have been removed from the application/service. Environment is identical to the productive system. Operation is checked in the overall system (databases, peripherals, performance).
  • Production server: Production environment on a live server. No more changes are made here.

Before requesting a new system, please consider which of these categories matches your system most closely. You may need more than one server for your work.

Please note that we name the servers using a naming convention based on the division into development, test and production systems.

Virtual PCs at the HZB

If you want to use a virtual system but not a server operating system, we can provide you with a virtual PC. Please see the page Requesting a virtual PC.

For more information on virtual PCs, please see the page Der HZB vPC (only in German).

For technical reasons, we provide virtual PCs on a HyperV environment.