VIRTUALIZATION is the key factor attracting the IT world. It has really turned around the way IT used to deliver services and now it is delivering services. The Enterprise world has changed from what IT used to be a support for proper functioning of the Front End operations to it being a Service ( prominently named as ITaaS – IT as a service ).

Definition of Virtualization :

Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources.

Understanding Virtualization

You probably know a little about virtualization if you have ever divided your hard drive into different partitions. A partition is the logical division of a hard disk drive to create, in effect, two separate hard drives.

Operating system virtualization is the use of software to allow a piece of hardware to run multiple operating system images at the same time. The technology got its start on mainframes decades ago, allowing administrators to avoid wasting expensive processing power.

Types of virtualization

Storage Virtualization

This is where the resources of many different network storage devices such as hard drives are pooled so that it looks like they are all one big vat of storage. This is then managed by a central system that makes it all look much simpler to the network administrators. This is also a great way to keep an eye on resources in a business, as you can then see exactly how much you have left at a given time. It gives the administrator much less hassle when it comes to backups etc.

Network Virtualization

Network Virtualization is when all of the separate resources of a network are combined, allowing the network administrator to share them out amongst the users of the network. This is done by splitting the resources’ bandwidth into channels and allowing the administrator to assign these resources as and when required. This allows each user to access all of the network resources from their computer. This can be files and folders on the computer, printers or hard drives etc. This streamlined approach makes the life of the network administrator much easier, and it makes the system seem much less complicated to the human eye than it really is.

Server Virtualization

This is the main area of virtualization, whereby a number of “virtual machines” are created on one server meaning that multiple tasks can then be assigned to the one server, saving on processing power, cost and space. This means that any network tasks that are happening on the server still appear to be on a separate space, so that any errors can be diagnosed and fixed quickly.

Advantages of Virtualization

1. Lower number of physical servers – you can reduce hardware maintenance costs because of a lower number of physical servers.

2. By implementing a server consolidation strategy, you can increase the space utilization efficiency in your data center.

3. By having each application within its own “virtual server” you can prevent one application from impacting another application when upgrades or changes are made.

4. You can develop a standard virtual server build that can be easily duplicated which will speed up server deployment.

5. You can deploy multiple operating system technologies on a single hardware platform (i.e. Windows Server 2003, Linux, Windows 2000, etc).

In the upcoming articles we shall be continuing in more depth about Virtualization….


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