Virtualization is a broad IT concept that helps enterprises manage their hardware and software. This does not mean it is only related to and beneficial for IT enterprises. Any non-IT company can also use virtualization for its requirements.
Virtualization simply means creating and maintaining a virtual version of something that is not real. You can virtualize your hardware, software, server, operating system, and more.
Bob Muglia, senior vice president for server and tools business at Microsoft Corporation states, “Virtualization is an approach to deploying computer resource that isolate different layers – hardware, software, data, network, storage – from each other.”
Today enterprises are facing issues with IT infrastructure establishment and workload detachment. They are looking for an advanced technology to help them better utilize their hardware and software resources, and manage their IT networks. Virtualization is that advanced technology.
Virtualization offers the benefits of flexibility and agility to large and mid-sized enterprises. You can run two or more operating systems through virtualization. It reduces your cost of system consolidation and footprint dilution. You can optimize your IT investment.
So what are the different types of virtualizations popular these days?
You can use server virtualization to reduce the number of your operating systems, processors, servers, and so on. You can host all your applications, websites, and solution on this virtual server. You can virtualize your mail servers, internet servers, enterprise resource planning server, file servers, etc.
With advanced server virtualization you can:
- Manage multiple physical servers in single virtual milieu
- Reduce processing power usage and infrastructure management efforts
- Avoid server sprawl
- Optimize server resources
- Enhance server availability
- Centralize server administration
Server virtualization also becomes extremely useful in cases of disaster recovery.
Operating System Virtualization
This virtualization allows you to manage multiple operating systems from single operating system. You can store and control numerous applications, websites, and solutions from this virtualized operation system.
Operating system virtualization offers benefits like:
- Application migration
- Online OS maintenance
- Server consolidation
- Enhanced server security
With OS virtualization you can run two operating systems simultaneously on single computer. You can test applications on virtualized OS for performance and security. You can create virtual computing environment and spread resources across main computer and virtual one. You can save money on hardware, collocation fees, rack space, power, cable management, etc. You can minimize physical machines without decreasing the number of applications.
All these advantages make OS virtualization one of the most widely used virtualization in SME companies.
Here you can virtualize your hardware and software networks. This way you can combine your internal and external networks and manage them better. Your network admin can share separate resources with network users according to their requirements. Network users can access these resources from their personal computers.
Storage virtualization is a good way of managing hard drives through a central system. It is pretty much viewed as storage of various network devices. You can store physical devices on a single platform in storage virtualization. Block virtualization and file virtualization enhances the capacity of your storage system. Your storage admin can perform multiple tasks like backup, archiving, recovery, etc in very less time.
Benefits of storage virtualization are:
- Better utilization of resources
- Workload mobility
- Increased responsiveness
- Faster disaster recovery
Application virtualization works with remote server practices rather than personal computer. Here all applications are run separately on virtual operating system. Users cannot make changes to local computer operating system, file system, and registry. The dynamic link library redirects virtualized applications to the server file system. Here you need a combination of right technologies, vendors, and solutions to design, build, and manage virtual application infrastructure.
Benefits of application virtualization include:
- Reduced expenditure on OS licenses.
- Enhanced reliability and scalability of applications.
- Optimal utilization of applications.
- Ease of control and monitoring.
- Easily copy, back up, and archive application files.
In hardware virtualization, you can use virtual machine that acts as your real computer. You can create virtualized personal computers and operating systems. You can use a host machine and virtualize it further as per your requirements. In hardware virtualization you can have:
- Full virtualization
- Partial virtualization
In full virtualization, you can completely virtualize hardware parts of a computer. This way you can:
- Share computer system amongst multiple users
- Isolate users from each other
- Emulate new hardware
In partial virtualization, you can virtualize a targeted environment or portion of your hardware.
Finally in paravirtualization, you can run multiple operating systems on single hardware and share the same system resources. You can have virtualization layers and optimized operating system environment. Through paravirtualization you can reduce configuration cost and manage testing environment.
With service virtualization you can use proxy and intermediary services for physical services. You can have various ecosystem services like protocol mapping, routing, monitoring, versioning, run time policy enforcement, etc. Users can expose, consume, and manage new functionalities in applications or solutions. Users can have access to simple service intermediaries, service selection, and service translation. You can even interact with your customers without revealing your physical location. Thus, it can work as a gateway or intermediary between customers and providers.
Desktop virtualization can help you improve your business continuity and avoid disaster recovery at minimal cost. It offers centralized desktop management and quick desktop deployment with less support and operating cost. Some other benefits of desktop virtualization can be listed as:
- Simplified and standardized desktop support
- Greater consistency and control
- Better security
- Better compliance
- Reduced complexities
- Improved user access
- Accelerated return on investment
Desktop virtualization can be further categorized into host-based virtual machines, shared virtual host, and host-based physical machine.
So far what we have seen is virtualization in any form will only help you reduce your operational cost, administration efforts, and complexities. It will also help you optimize your resource utilization.
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