Virtualization technology has changed the outlook of IT and has transformed the ways in which people work. It lessens hardware usage and saves power and costs. It runs different applications and distinct operating systems on the same server, at the same time. Virtualization is the method of building a virtual version of a physical infrastructure like computing surroundings, storage devices, operating systems and networking components. For instance, server virtualization can be defined as a method whereby different operating systems and applications run simultaneously. This facilitates the organizations in making use of their resources efficiently and decreasing the overall expenditure by reducing the cost of maintenance of the servers.
Virtualization can be used in various ways besides server virtualization. The major areas for virtualization are application, desktop, storage, hardware and network.
Application technology allows the user to access a particular application from a remote server but not necessarily from their own workstation. All the personal data and other features of the application are stored on the server yet the user can access it on a remotely located workstation. Technically speaking, it works as if the application is installed even if it is not. The applications are virtualized and sent to the user’s devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones through the server. This allows users to login into their computers at the workplace from anywhere and access the respective application through the internet connection provided. This virtualization isolates application layer from the bottom of the operating system and in this way applications does not have to depend on the operating system but can run in an enclosed form. This virtualization is specifically favored by businesses.
In Desktop technology, the workstation is virtualized rather than a server. The User can access the desktop remotely and can connect to the workstation securely. This facilitates user’s ability to logon and work from anywhere. Additionally, it is well secured. Confidential data is kept safe on centralized protecting it from the threat of theft. Centralized servers reduce the cost of installing software on desktops. Management and maintenance is very easy as virtual desktops are at the same location. Since the virtualized desktop is stored in a remotely located centralized server, this virtualization is called as the client-server computing model. Desktop virtualization isolates the environment of a desktop and the physical device such as smartphone, laptop or tablets and is configured as a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
In this technology, the method of classifying physical storage from different network storage devices is done. This enables the device to function as a single storage device. This type of storage virtualization is easy for management and optimizes resource usage. This offers benefits like improving the storage management under a composite IT environment, easy updates, reduced intermission during the activity, improved storage usage and computerized management. Storage virtualization is convenient for disaster recovery as the data on virtual storage can be copied and transmitted to other location. There are two types of storage virtualization, the block and the file. The block storage virtualization substitutes the controllers and supports at the disk level while the file storage virtualization needs the installation of the software on the server that uses the storage to allow file-level usage.
Hardware/ Server Virtualization:
In Hardware Virtualization technology, a single processor acts as many different processors. Different operating systems can be run on the same hardware by the user or multiple users can access the processor at the same time. This requires a Virtual Machine Manager called as the Hypervisor, which regulates the processor, memory and other elements without a source code to run on same system with different operating systems. The primary aim of this technology is to merge small servers into a single server. This enables the processor to work more efficiently. This commonly used virtualization benefits from the hardware usage. The advantage of hardware virtualization lies in the web servers. The virtual server runs on separate operating systems and is rebooted individually. Hardware virtualization is classified into three types – namely, Full virtualization, Para virtualization and Partial virtualization. In Full virtualization, the total replica of the actual hardware is used to run the unchanged guest operating system through a software. In Para virtualization, the modified operating system runs an unmodified software. In Partial virtualization, the software need some changes to run.
In Network Virtualization technology, the physical networking equipment is linked to a single resource. The method of splitting bandwidth into many separate channels which are assigned to devices and servers is called Network virtualization. This technology is majorly useful when the network experiences a huge increase in usage. Network virtualization simplifies the workload for a better computing growth. The major advantage of network virtualization is the network productivity and capability. It facilitates the enterprises and business people who have a major number of users to keep the systems working all the time. Since network virtualization has separate channels, the speed of the network increases which allows the applications to work faster.
Advantages of Virtualization:
- Greater capability to manage resources
- More productivity
- More security
- Access to the cloud
- Effective IT infrastructure
- Installation of effective software and less usage of hardware
- Less expensive towards maintenance and operating costs
- Low Energy consumption
- Quick access to the applications
- Immediate and easy backup even in case of disasters.
Virtualization is an easy and cost effective way to set up virtual servers. It reduces the physical management of infrastructure and increases productivity, efficiency and security.