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Virtualization

October 5th, 2008 Posted in Technology   Print This Post Print This Post   Email This Post Email This Post
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Earlier this week, I went to a Microsoft seminar which the underlying theme was virtualization. I dabbled in virtualization for the past three years, thinking of it as more of a hobby or a playground to test environments; however, after watching some of the Microsoft presentations and listening to some case studies, I started to look at virtualization in a new light: it is the way of the future in technology.

What is Virtualization

Some of you may be asking yourself, “What is virtualization?” Simply put, virtualization is the process of using one physical server (or computer) to run multiple virtual computers. If this is still a little confusing, I will try and give you an analogy. When you go to Best Buy and purchase a new computer, bring it home, power it on, set it up, and then finally log into Windows you will notice that there are some programs that you can run. Lets say your computer came with Microsoft Office, you can then open Microsoft Word. After you open MS Word, you can open another instance of Word, and another and another. If we compare this to virtualization, we have the physical server being like the Windows operating system that comes with the computer, and each new Virtual Server would be like opening another instance of MS Word. Hopefully that will help give you an idea of what virtualization is.

Why is Virtualization Important

The industry is moving to virtualization: products like XenServer, XenDesktop, VMWare Server, VMWare ESX, VirtualBox, Microsoft Hypervisor, but why is this important. There are three big reasons I see virtualization as being important. First, companies are now able to deploy more services with less money spent on equipment. For example, a company that needs a file server, mail server, and database server can now accomplish this by ordering one physical server instead of three. Another reason that virtualization is important is the “Go Green” initiative. By utilizing one physical server as multiple servers, you now eliminate or reduce the amount of power that will be consumed. Lastly, the ability to move virtual servers and maintain working environments is key to virtualization. With virtualization, the need to maintain a physical server becomes less important and more time is spent on the services provided.

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  1. 6 Responses to “Virtualization”

  2. By Paul on Oct 5, 2008

    For us separation of duties has been a huge advantage. For example, I have a license server and an antivirus server. The antivirus server needs an upgrade, but now I can upgrade and reboot that box during normal business hours because both are virtual machines. Where the license server would interrupt all the users by being rebooted, the antivirus server does not affect production in the least if it is unavailable briefly.

    Migrations are also much better. We are on a 3-year lease cycle with our servers, and instead of attempting to reload and move everything from one server to another, we can just use VMotion (a VMWare ESX feature) to move running machines from one physical machine to another, swap out the underlying hardware, and then allow VMWare’s load balancing to move the machine back. Zero downtime.

  3. By Dorothy Stahlnecker on Oct 5, 2008

    thank you for that explanation. I’ll need to hear it over again, however, this is a great start and I may have even understood it..

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

  4. By Nihar on Oct 6, 2008

    Good explanation of virtualization.

  5. By Kelly on Oct 6, 2008

    As physical machine capabilities become better virtualization will play a more and more important role. The cost factor of installing and maintaining servers cannot be ignored, particularly by mid-sized businesses that are looking to grow.

    Thanks for posting such an informative article.

    beau71 Reply:

    Physical machine capabilities are becoming much greater, especial with 64-bit processors. Intel has released a processor that contains 6 cores. Servers are capable of massive amounts of RAM. Fiber connected SANs from HP have 4GB fiber controllers. Virtualization is exciting and here!

  6. By Phoenix2life on Oct 6, 2008

    Definitely virtualization is helping utilizing the underutilized resources. Also there are lots of great use in application testing, energy saving, managing capacity better etc.

    Nice Article. Thanks for sharing your views on my blog !!!

    Appreciated !

    Phoenix2Life

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