Virtualization is a process of creating virtual instances or environments using the dedicated resources of a single hardware platform. In simple terms, Virtualization is a technology that divides the single computer or a server into multiple systems called virtual machines by using a software called hypervisor. The hypervisor layer exists between server and VMs and is solely responsible for allocating the hardware resources like CPU, storage or memory to these virtual machines. The server computer on which hypervisor is installed is called a host.
You can control the distribution of resources to these VMs according to their role and requirements. All the virtualization software come with their own virtualization management consoles. With virtualization technology, apart from server hardware, you can also create multiple virtual environments of the operating system, applications or network.
Reasons to go for Virtualization
The IT budget for cloud computing and virtualization is expected to hike at six times by 2020. The workloads of small to large scale businesses have to be virtualized to avoid the risks of higher IT infrastructure costs, security lapses or lagging behind the competition.
Some of the benefits of virtualization include.
- Since multiple VMs can run on a single server, IT expenses will be drastically cut. You will save on server costs apart from supporting utilizes like cooling and power requirements.
- IT productivity is enhanced since the breakdown time is reduced and time spent on troubleshooting also diminishes.
- Virtualization cuts down business disruptions and increases the efficiency at work with faster and more reliable disaster recovery plans.
- Virtualization increases the agility by providing easier scalability and deployment of resources.
- Virtualization is the key platform in order to move IT infrastructure to cloud computing and next generation IT initiatives.
Types of Virtualization
The dedicated servers like Mail-server, Application servers, Exchange server, file servers or any other type of servers installed in organizations work only to about 20% of their capacity. This led to the loss of efficiency, power, and increased operating costs. With virtualization, you can install multiple operating systems on a single physical hardware(server). These multiple Virtual machines can act as various dedicated servers cutting the hardware costs drastically.
The VMs use the resources of the underlying server hardware. Server virtualization offers speedy workload deployment, enhances the application performance and zero downtime.
Network management is a tedious job for all the administrators. Virtualization of network divides the available bandwidth into channels. These channels do not conflict with each other and are assigned to servers securely. The user can access shared applications on the network the same way as on a physical network.
Once the server virtualization is in place, the client’s desktop can also be virtualized by moving the desktop (client’s) application and operating systems to virtual machines. The data of desktop clients is moved to centralized storage (SAN) and the clients use their desktops through virtual machines. The users can access their desktop by using thin clients or laptops.
With Desktop virtualization, it is also easy to take backups since IT administrator need not take individual workstation backups rather the more robust cluster redundancy is used for the backups of VMS. The IT costs are also cut in terms of OS and application licenses. New desktops are easily added in quick times on host server.
Top Virtualization Vendors
With the rise of cloud computing and virtualization being the backbone of cloud computing services, many new vendors are coming up with virtualization tools. These vendors also provide certification in virtualization to IT professionals to equip them with various features and tools needed to build a virtual environment. VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft are the global leaders in cloud computing and virtualization solutions.