Virtualization is a proven software technology that is rapidly transforming the IT landscape and fundamentally changing the way that people compute. Today’s powerful x86 computer hardware was originally designed to run only a single operating system and a single application, but virtualization breaks that bond, making it possible to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications on the same computer at the same time, increasing the utilization and flexibility of hardware.
How Does Virtualization Work?
In essence, virtualization lets you transform hardware into software. Use software such as VMware ESX to transform or “virtualize” the hardware resources of an x86-based computer—including the CPU, RAM, hard disk and network controller—to create a fully functional virtual machine that can run its own operating system and applications just like a “real” computer. Multiple virtual machines share hardware resources without interfering with each other so that you can safely run several operating systems and applications at the same time on a single computer.
Top 5 Reasons to Adopt Virtualization Software:
Server Consolidation and Infrastructure Optimization: Virtualization makes it possible to achieve significantly higher resource utilization by pooling common infrastructure resources and breaking the legacy “one application to one server” model.
Physical Infrastructure Cost Reduction: With virtualization, you can reduce the number of servers and related IT hardware in the data center. This leads to reductions in real estate, power and cooling requirements, resulting in significantly lower IT costs.
Improved Operational Flexibility & Responsiveness: Virtualization offers a new way of managing IT infrastructure and can help IT administrators spend less time on repetitive tasks such as provisioning, configuration, monitoring and maintenance.
Increased Application Availability & Improved Business Continuity: Eliminate planned downtime and recover quickly from unplanned outages with the ability to securely backup and migrate entire virtual environments with no interruption in service.
Improved Desktop Manageability & Security: Deploy, manage and monitor secure desktop environments that end users can access locally or remotely, with or without a network connection, on almost any standard desktop, laptop or tablet PC.
What is a Virtual Machine?
A virtual machine is a tightly isolated software container that can run its own operating systems and applications as if it were a physical computer. A virtual machine behaves exactly like a physical computer and contains it own virtual (i.e. software-based) CPU, RAM hard disk and network interface card (NIC).
An operating system can’t tell the difference between a virtual machine and a physical machine, nor can applications or other computers on a network. Even the virtual machine thinks it is a “real” computer. Nevertheless, a virtual machine is composed entirely of software and contains no hardware components whatsoever. As a result, virtual machines offer a number of distinct advantages over physical hardware.
What is a Virtual Infrastructure?
In essence, a virtual infrastructure is a dynamic mapping of physical resources to business needs. While a virtual machine represents the physical resources of a single computer, a virtual infrastructure represents the physical resources of the entire IT environment, aggregating x86 computers and their attached network and storage into a unified pool of IT resources.
Structurally, a virtual infrastructure consists of the following components:
- Single-node hypervisors to enable full virtualization of each x86 computer.
- A set of virtualization-based distributed system infrastructure services such as resource management to optimize available resources among virtual machines.
- Automation solutions that provide special capabilities to optimize a particular IT process such as provisioning or disaster recovery.