Server Virtualization and Operating System Virtualization
What is Virtualization?
Virtualization, in the realm of computing technology, is the act of creating a virtual computer environment that mimics the details of a real computing environment. When using virtualization, you are, in a sense, tricking the computer into believing it is two computers; one actual computer and a virtualized computer. Virtualization is a logical representation of a computer in software form.
Why is Virtualization useful?
It allows for the efficient allocation of all computer/server resources. In an IT world where resources equal money, using server virtualization and operating system virtualization allows companies to get the most out of what they paid for.
Server Virtualization allows a company to save money by multiplying the number of servers available to lease while cutting down on the number of physical servers. Server virtualization is best described with an example:
A host company (Server Host) offers hosting servers to user company (User). The User purchases 75% of an entire server from Server Host. Server Host can now virtualize that server, and create a situation where the server believes that the 75% given to User is 100%. Then the remaining 25% can be sold to user company two (User2). This saves the host company money by not letting that 25% go to waste.
Private Server Virtualization
This is when software is used that manipulates a user's PC into believing it is two computers. One running the base operating system, while the other is simultaneously running a server operating system with resources allocated from the physical computer. This is also best explained with an example:
The user is running Windows 7 on a computer with 8GB of RAM (max usage @4GB), with a 3TB Hard Drive (2 TB free). Using VMWare virtualization, the user creates a server and allocates 3GB of RAM and 1TB of Hard Drive space. This virtualized server environment then runs in the background. The user can switch between the Windows 7 environment and the virtualized server with a key combination (ex: Shift + Alt + F2).
Operating System Virtualization
Operating system virtualization allows the user to simultaneously run two operating systems on the same computer. This is most helpful when the user wants to test out different operating systems (when users decide to make the switch from Windows to Linux, this is invaluable).
Much like server virtualization, operating system virtualization creates a virtual computing environment, spreading resources between the main computer and the virtualized computer. Another example would be:
The user is currently running Windows 7, but has discovered that Ubuntu Linux has access to Beryl and is absolutely fascinated. The user can then use a software like VMWare to create an operating system virtualization, dedicating resources from the Windows 7 environment to the Ubuntu environment.
The user can then switch between the two environments on the fly. (Virtualization allows for full screening, so it actually appears as though your computer is fully immersed in the virtualized environment.) Once the user is completely familiar with the new operating system, then can even decide to fully switch over, allowing for full resources to be used in the new operating system (by exiting a virtualized operating system and reformatting the computer into that operating system).
There are a number of virtualization solutions available to companies and users, including VMWare, Microsoft, and IBM. Each company has their own special offers on virtualized solutions, with virtualization management, strategies, and implementation. But what would the benefit be to your company to take advantage of these virtualized solutions and switch to a virtualized environment?
Benefits To Switching To A Virtualized Environment
When a company, small business, or user gets the most out of their hardware purchase, they are saving money, and that's the bottom line. Virtualization increases efficiency and IT availability while maximizing hardware capabilities. Using cross-operating system virtualization servers also maximizes the number of applications the computer can run, again increasing capabilities, maximizing potential, and saving big bucks in the long run.
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