Let's face it, if you do not begin to virtualize your environment while your competitors do you will be paying more money for hardware, power, staffing, and physical space. You will be paying costs that your competitors who have virtualized are not paying thereby reducing your effectiveness in the market place- you will not be able to compete.
You have choices but the market leader is VMWare and the company that at this moment I would recommend. The best part is that you can virtualize right now, today for free! It used to be that you would have to pay $500 for each license of ESX or ESXi but you can now go to VMWare and download it for free. The management tools on the other hand...not so free. That is where you go from ESXi to Infrastructure3
Right now you can comfortably have 7+ servers running on one physical piece of equipment. Some companies like QualComm have 30-40 servers running on one box. As the technology improves and as servers become more powerful (that transitor on a chip number keeps getting bigger), you will be able to get more and more virtual machines on the same piece of equipment that you currently own.
Considering that Infrastructure3 is priced so that one license covers 2 processors regardless of how many cores those processors have, you can begin to imagine what that will mean when 16 and 32 cores become the norm, and you'll be able to toss multiple processors into a box. That datacenter you currently have with 20, 30, 40 physical servers will easily fit into one powerful box no bigger than the 1, 2, 3u+ servers you currently use.
You may be hesitant but don't wait too long to play with it or the future will roll right over you.
Anyways, try it out, see how you like it:
- Get a free license for VMware ESXi and build virtual machines in minutes with this easy-to-deploy, OS-independent hypervisor.
- you can view ESXi live demo that shows how it works and gives an excellent overview.
Another option for you might be that when you buy your next copy of Windows Server 2008, buy the Enterprise edition which comes bundled with 5 licenses for Microsoft's virtualization offering Hyper-V. You get the windows license you want plus 5 additional licenses for virtual machines. I'll check with them to see if they have a free trial as well.