Virtualization: From Concept to Reality
Virtualization technology is possibly one of the most important issues in IT and has started a top to bottom overhaul of the computing industry. Virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something. In computing, it is a proven software technology that makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and applications on the same server at the same time. It began in the 1960s, as a method of logically dividing the system resources provided by mainframe computers between different applications.
Virtualization is achieved in various forms. Some of them are precisely discussed below. Hardware Virtualization, which typically refers to Server Virtualization, is most commonly used today. It is all about conversion of one physical server into several individual & isolated virtual spaces that can be taken up by multiple users based on their respective requirements. The concept of isolating a logical operating system (OS) instance from the client that used to access it is coined as Desktop Virtualization. Application Virtualization, the third important type, is a technology that encapsulates computer programs from the underlying operating system on which it is executed, thus enhancing its portability. Virtualization today is one of the hot topics in storage management (Storage Virtualization). It deals with the amalgamation of multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage unit. Network Virtualization, sometimes referred to as Software-Defined Networking, is similar to Storage Virtualization. It is the process of combining hardware and software network resources and network functionality into a single, software-based administrative entity, a virtual network.
Virtualization is transforming the IT landscape and fundamentally changing the way that people utilize technology. It’s the most effective way to reduce IT expenses while boosting efficiency and agility – not just for large enterprises, but for small and midsize businesses too. Workloads get deployed faster, performance and availability increases and operations become automated, resulting in a simply manageable and cost affordable IT.
When it comes to virtualization technology offerings, there are quite a few brands known for it; some of the commonly heard names being VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Red Hat, Oracle, Amazon and Google. Their solutions scale from a few virtual machines that host a handful of websites, virtual desktops or intranet services all the way up to tens of thousands of virtual machines serving millions of Internet users.
Despite of all the benefits, one must consider certain issues before opting virtualization. All server applications are not virtualization-friendly. This means that some aspects of computer technology within business might not impart us the available option of virtualization. It is also important to select a solution that offers adequate data protection as third party servers often put data at risk.
“Virtualization is very similar to outsourcing,” says Lynne Ellyn, CIO, DTE Energy.
Thus, virtualization continues to provide the next byte, never knowing where it is coming from.