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.