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What is virtualization?
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual -- rather than actual -- version of something, such as an operating system (OS), a server, a storage device or network resources.
Virtualization uses software that simulates hardware functionality to create a virtual system. This practice allows IT organizations to operate multiple operating systems, more than one virtual system and various applications on a single server. The benefits of virtualization include greater efficiencies and economies of scale.
OS virtualization is the use of software to allow a piece of hardware to run multiple operating system images at the same time. The technology got its start on mainframes decades ago, allowing administrators to avoid wasting expensive processing power.
How virtualization works
Virtualization describes a technology in which an application, guest OS or data storage is abstracted away from the true underlying hardware or software.
A key use of virtualization technology is server virtualization, which uses a software layer -- called a hypervisor
Hypervisors take the physical resources and separate them so they can be utilized by the virtual environment. They can sit on top of an OS or they can be directly installed onto the hardware. The latter is how most enterprises virtualize their systems.
The Xen hypervisor is an open source software program that is responsible for managing the low-level interactions that occur between virtual machines (VMs) and the physical hardware. In other words, the Xen hypervisor enables the simultaneous creation, execution and management of various virtual machines in one physical environment.
With the help of the hypervisor, the guest OS, normally interacting with true hardware, is now doing so with a software emulation of that hardware; often, the guest OS has no idea it's on virtualized hardware.
While the performance of this virtual system is not equal to the performance of the operating system running on true hardware, the concept of virtualization works because most guest operating systems and applications don't need the full use of the underlying hardware.
This allows for greater flexibility, control and isolation by removing the dependency on a given hardware platform. While initially meant for server virtualization, the concept of virtualization has spread to applications, networks, data and desktops.
A side-by-side view of a traditional versus a virtual architecture
The virtualization process follows the steps listed below:
The virtual environment is often referred to as a guest machine or virtual machine. The VM acts like a single data file that can be transferred from one computer to another and opened in both; it is expected to perform the same way on every computer.
Types of virtualization
You probably know a little about virtualization if you have ever divided your hard drive into different partitions. A partition is the logical division of a hard disk drive to create, in effect, two separate hard drives.
There are six areas of IT where virtualization is making headway:
Virtualization can be viewed as part of an overall trend in enterprise IT that includes autonomic computing, a scenario in which the IT environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity, and utility computing, in which computer processing power is seen as a utility that clients can pay for only as needed. The usual goal of virtualization is to centralize administrative tasks while improving scalability and workloads.
Advantages of virtualization
The advantages of utilizing a virtualized environment include the following:
Benefits of virtualization
Virtualization provides companies with the benefit of maximizing their output. Additional benefit for both businesses and data centers include the following:
Limitations of virtualization
Before converting to a virtualized environment, it is important to consider the various upfront costs. The necessary investment in virtualization software, as well as hardware that might be required to make the virtualization possible, can be costly. If the existing infrastructure is more than five years old, an initial renewal budget will have to be considered.
Fortunately, many businesses have the capacity to accommodate virtualization without spending large amounts of cash. Furthermore, the costs can be offset by collaborating with a managed service provider that provides monthly leasing or purchase options.
There are also software licensing considerations that must be considered when creating a virtualized environment. Companies must ensure that they have a clear understanding of how their vendors view software use within a virtualized environment. This is becoming less of a limitation as more software providers adapt to the increased use of virtualization.
Converting to virtualization takes time and may come with a learning curve. Implementing and controlling a virtualized environment demands each IT staff member to be trained and possess expertise in virtualization. Furthermore, some applications do not adapt well when brought into a virtual environment. The IT staff will need to be prepared to face these challenges and should address them prior to converting.
There are also security risks involved with virtualization. Data is crucial to the success of a business and, therefore, is a common target for attacks. The chances of experiencing a data breach significantly increase while using virtualization.
Finally, in a virtual environment, users lose control of what they can do because there are several links that must collaborate to perform the same task. If any part is not working, then the entire operation will fail.
This was last updated in October 2021
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Which of the following are examples of hardware
At present, examples of hardware-assisted virtualization are the extensions to the x86-64 bit architecture introduced with Intel VT (formerly known as Vanderpool) and AMD V (formerly known as Pacifica).
What is virtualization in performance?
The simplest benchmark of virtualization performance is a direct comparison between a workload running in a virtual environment compared to that of the same workload running on an identical physical system without virtualization.
What are some of the common uses for virtualization?
Common Uses for Desktop Virtualization.
Use Multiple Operating Systems on the Same System..
Create New Development Environments..
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What are 2 operational benefits of virtualization?
Virtualization can increase IT agility, flexibility and scalability while creating significant cost savings. Greater workload mobility, increased performance and availability of resources, automated operations – they're all benefits of virtualization that make IT simpler to manage and less costly to own and operate.