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Understanding the Virtualization

Updated on October 22, 2012

Having clear concepts about virtualization

Many of us still don’t understand what virtualization is. It is simple concept. Imagine, you have one computer with enough capacity and two people want to use Internet at same time. Traditionally, it can be a problem, since two people can’t use one computer at a same time. When your computer is virtualized, you can use two operating systems at same computer if your computer has capacity. Amazing benefit! Now whole family can even use a computer at same time if computer has required RAM, hard drive and processor to run two or more operating systems. When we shift same concept towards servers, savings and benefits are tremendous.

Traditionally, it is estimated that each server can utilize around 10% of its capacity when running on physical mode. It means, 90% of server’s capacity is unutilized and operating expenses are racked at the top. Another problem businesses have with running applications on physical mode is to keep up with cost of IT infrastructure. It is estimated that 70% of all IT resources are utilized in maintaining existing IT infrastructure and 30% is left for innovation. Businesses have vision to turnaround this 70/30 equation. With current virtualization, businesses can utilize 60% to 80% of server’s capacity.

Normally, when companies adopt virtualization in their environments, they go through three stages. First stage is when they adopt virtualization for their actual infrastructure. In infrastructure virtualization, companies adopt virtualization for their general applications. General applications include print servers, IT tools and other general servers. In this stage, businesses usually adopt 30% of virtualization in their IT workload.

Second stage is when businesses adopt virtualization for their critical business applications. At this stage, businesses adopt virtualization to their 60% to 80% of total workload.

Third stage is when businesses adopt mission-critical products for their virtualized IT environment, like high availability and other products to automate their virtualized environments. In this stage, businesses move towards cloud computing as well. The whole model of automating the process and adopting cloud computing is called IT as a Service (ITaaS).

Below, we have mentioned few of basic concepts about virtualization:

Hypervisor

So the question is that how it is possible to harvest most from the IT resources when utilizing servers and data centers. Foundation of the answer to mentioned question rests over the hypervisor. Hypervisor is software that enables virtualization in computers and servers. In result, applications can run on virtual environment as independent to their existing hardware infrastructure. When you download hypervisor on computer or server, you enable your computer or server to run many applications on virtual layer. Amazingly, some of these modified hypervisors have their own I/O components, memory and CPUs.

Virtual I/O Components, Memory and CPUs

Virtual I/O Components, Virtual Memory and Virtual CPUs are amazing concepts. These are logical instances of actual resources. They can be exact size of the size present in the server or can be divided into smaller parts. Further, they can be larger in size than what is present in server. Creating larger sizes is possible by pooling resources.

Pooling Resources

Pooling resources is intuitive concept in virtualization. Earlier it was not possible for applications to gain more resources than available in individual server. With virtualization, it is possible. By virtualization, we can create a pool of many servers and can allocate other servers’ resources to running applications when needed. There are many ways to do this. One way is to hot add memory. By creating hot add memory, we can add more memory to add to the virtual machine when it is needed.

Migration of Virtual Machines

Traditionally, when we need to do maintenance or some fault occur, we have no choice but to turn off the whole system and do maintenance on it. With migration of virtual machines, things are changed. If we have to do maintenance or there is a system failure, we can do migration of virtual machines to other system. When virtual machines migrate, the whole applications in them migrate along with them. In result, we can reduce the downtime significantly. In some cases, we can completely eliminate the downtime.

Snapshots of Virtual Machines

Software firms are always looking for good solutions for keeping copy of established software and testing another copy of it. They do this in consistent bases. Snapshot of virtual machine is good solution for them. They can take snapshot of virtual machine at any time and can test snapshot whenever they like. This way, they can keep building their application and can test software at any stage.

Snapshots of virtual machines are also good in normal circumstance to keep copy of critical business applications.

With presented information and concepts above, we are confident that you will explore virtualization more and will find many opportunities.

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