The actual need for virtualization basically requires the prior understanding of three things: Why Virtualize? What is Virtualization? And When to Virtualize?
The virtualization technology evolution dates back to the times of main frame computers, where the operators had to utilise huge power resource to run processes. Operating Virtualization addressed this issue by allowing the hardware resource to run multiple operation system images using a single software tool, thus managing the power utilisation in running processes.
Server virtualization is the key aspect of virtualization technology, where the main server is virtualised to create a guest system that exactly works as a main system. A software layer called hypervisor makes this happen by emulating underlying hardware. Here the guest operating system uses the software emulation of the underlying hardware, i.e., virtualized hardware and not the true hardware.
The performance of the virtual system is not exactly the same as that of the true system. Even then the virtualization holds significance as the most applications and guest systems may not demand for full utilization of the underlying hardware.
Thus, the dependence on hardware is alleviated, allowing greater flexibility and isolation of the processes from the main system, whenever needed. Here is where the companies working on multiple applications on multiple platforms can have an advantage of minimization of extra resource utilization.
Virtualization, which was initially confined to server systems, has evolved over the years to suit for networks, desktops, data and applications, among others.
Wings of Virtualization:
Virtualization has spread its wings across six key areas of significance in the IT industry:
- Network Virtualization: This reduced the complexity across networks by grouping the available resources in a network, connecting them with independent channels formed as a result of the splitting of available bandwidths. These channels can be linked to devices later, depending on the requirement.
- Storage Virtualization: Here, various storage devices are grouped into a single large virtualized storage unit, which is controlled from a central console.
- Server Virtualization: This involves the masking of servers so as to limit the server users from accessing server’s complex information, such as physical address, among others, while also ensuring the resource sharing. The software that is used to virtualize the underlying hardware is ‘hypervisor’
- Data Virtualization: Here the broader data access is provided to meet the business requirements, while abstracting the very important basic information like storage location, performance, and format.
- Desktop Virtualization: Here the main intention is to share the workstation. Instead of server, the workstation load is shared via virtualization, in the name of remote desktop access. As the workstation works in data centre server environment, security and portability are also ensured.
- Application Virtualization: Here the application is abstracted from the operating system, and encapsulated. The encapsulated form of the application is used across platforms without having need fo depend on the operating system every time during implementation.
Overall, fast-growing IT and end-user requirements driven by rise in demand for automation gives a needed boost to the global IT virtualization market.