WHAT IS VIRTUALIZATION?
Virtualization is the process of creating a software-based, or virtual, representation of something, such as virtual applications, servers, storage and networks. It is the single most effective way to reduce IT expenses while boosting efficiency and agility for all size businesses.
In layman words, Virtualization enables users to disjoint operating systems from the underlying hardware, i.e, users can run multiple operating systems such as Windows, Linux, on a single physical machine at the same time. Such operating systems are known as guest Oses (operating systems).
Virtualization deploys software that makes an abstraction layer across computer hardware, letting the hardware components such as processors, memory, storage etc of a particular computer to be segmented into several virtual elements (also known as virtual machines).
Moreover, in todays’ time, virtualization is globally adopted in enterprise IT architecture and drives cloud computing economics. Essentially, Virtualization allows cloud providers to deliver users along with existing physical computer hardware.
As a simple process, it enables cloud users to purchase only necessary computing resources when they actually need it, and to sustain those resources cost-effectively when the workload expands.
Some terminologies associated with Virtualization
- Hypervisor: It is an operating system, performing on the actual hardware, the virtual counterpart is a subpart of this operating system in the form of a running process. Hypervisors are observed as Domain 0 or Dom0.
- Virtual Machine (VM):It is a virtual computer, executing underneath a hypervisor.
- Container: Some light-weighted VMs that are subpart of the same operating system instance as its hypervisor are known as containers. They are a group of processes that runs along with their corresponding namespace for process identifiers.
- Virtualization Software: Either be a piece of a software application package or an operating system or a specific version of that operating system, this is the software that assists in deploying the virtualization on any computer device.
- Virtual Network: It is a logically separated network inside the servers that could be expanded across multiple servers.
Types of Virtualization
server virtualization enables multiple operating systems to run on a single physical server as highly efficient virtual machines. Key benefits include:
- Greater IT efficiencies
- Reduced operating costs
- Faster workload deployment
- Increased application performance
- Higher server availability
- Eliminated server sprawl and complexity
By completely reproducing a physical network, network virtualization allows applications to run on a virtual network as if they were running on a physical network — but with greater operational benefits and all the hardware independencies of virtualization. (Network virtualization presents logical networking devices and services — logical ports, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, VPNs and more — to connected workloads.)
Deploying desktops as a managed service enables IT organizations to respond faster to changing workplace needs and emerging opportunities. Virtualized desktops and applications can also be quickly and easily delivered to branch offices, outsourced and offshore employees, and mobile workers using iPad and Android tablets.
Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing
Although equally buzz-worthy technologies, virtualization and cloud computing are not interchangeable. Virtualization is software that makes computing environments independent of physical infrastructure, while cloud computing is a service that delivers shared computing resources (software and/or data) on demand via the Internet. As complementary solutions, organizations can begin by virtualizing their servers and then moving to cloud computing for even greater agility and self-service.
Virtualization as a Concept of Cloud Computing
In the context of cloud computing, virtualization is a technique that makes a virtual ecosystem of storage devices and the server OS.
- In that case, virtualization enables users to use various machines that share one particular physical instance of any resource.
- Cloud virtualization transforms the traditional computing methods such that the workload management is more efficient, economic and scalable.
- Virtualization concerning Cloud Computing is being unified swiftly, and advancing the conventional course of computing such as virtualization is helping in the sharing of applications across a network thread of several enterprises and active users.
Since cloud computing is being considered as a service or an application, assisting a virtualized ecosystem that could either be private or public, so with virtualization, resources could be escalated, reducing the necessity for a physical system.
Besides that, in order to understand how virtualization works in cloud computing, check the video below that explains how virtualization is still the elemental component of cloud strategy.
Virtual Machines Explained
A virtual computer system is known as a “virtual machine” (VM): a tightly isolated software container with an operating system and application inside. Each self-contained VM is completely independent. Putting multiple VMs on a single computer enables several operating systems and applications to run on just one physical server, or “host.”
A thin layer of software called a “hypervisor” decouples the virtual machines from the host and dynamically allocates computing resources to each each virtual machine as needed.
Key Properties of Virtual Machines
VMs have the following characteristics, which offer several benefits.
- Run multiple operating systems on one physical machine.
- Divide system resources between virtual machines.
- Provide fault and security isolation at the hardware level.
- Preserve performance with advanced resource controls.
- Save the entire state of a virtual machine to files.
- Move and copy virtual machines as easily as moving and copying files.
- Provision or migrate any virtual machine to any physical server.
Characteristics of Virtualization
- Resource Distribution: Either be a single computer or a network of connected servers, virtualization allows users to make a unique computer environment from one host machine that lets users to restrict the participants as active users, scale down power consumption and easy control.
- Isolation: Virtualization software involves self-contained virtual machines, these VMs give guest users (not an individual but a number of instances as applications, operating systems, and devices) an isolated online, virtual environment. This online environment not only defends sensitive knowledge but also allows guest users to remain-connected.
- Availability: Virtualization software provides various number of features that users won’t obtain at physical servers, these features are beneficial in increasing uptime, availability, fault tolerance, and many more. These features help users to avoid downtime that subverts the users’ efficiencies and productivities and also generates security threats and safety hazards.
- Aggregation: Since virtualization allows several devices to split resources from a single machine, so it can be deployed to join multiple devices into a single potent host. In addition to that, aggregation also demands for cluster management software in order to connect a homogeneous group of computers or servers collectively for making a unified resource center.
- Authenticity and security: At ease, virtualization platforms assure the continuous uptime by balancing load automatically that runs an excessive number of servers across multiple host machines in order to prevent interruption services.
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. Additional benefits include:
- Reduced capital and operating costs.
- Minimized or eliminated downtime.
- Increased IT productivity, efficiency, agility and responsiveness.
- Faster provisioning of applications and resources.
- Greater business continuity and disaster recovery.
- Simplified data center management.
- Availability of a true Software-Defined Data
What is virtual machine and its benefits?
VMs have several advantages: They allow multiple operating systems (OS) environments to exist simultaneously on the same machine. They empower users to go beyond the limitations of hardware to achieve their end goals. Using VMs ensures application provisioning, better availability, easy maintenance and recovery
Security has been the advantageous concern for adopting virtualization.The security is served through firewalls that prevent from any unreliable access and preserve the data safe and confidential.
In addition to that,
- The firewalls provide extra security from any sort of cyber threats and virus attacks,
- The protocols consist of end to end encryption, saving data automatically from other risky threads, and
- Users can virtualize their data and make backups of the same data on another server when needed.
- Flexible Operations:
With the deployment of virtualization, users can work efficiently as the working process is very streamlined and agile. Presently, the employed network switch is easy to use, flexible and saves time.
Virtualization is also helpful in troubleshooting technical errors, occurring in any of the connected devices. It eradicates the issues of retaining or recovering lost data due to corrupted or crashed devices, and therefore promotes ROI and saves time.
This is the most prime reason to choose virtualization rapidly as with this technique companies can manage additional expenditure on physical devices and servers.
Being active with a virtual environment, data can be gathered on virtual servers. It also reduces the rigorous use of electricity (that has been a concern if several physical devices and services are being used at the same time), lowering bills while executing the numerous components of an operating system and applications over the users and companies network.
- Flexible data transfer:
The data can be transferred to virtual servers anytime and also be retrieved due to this users or cloud providers need not to waste time in finding out hard drives to discover data.
With the implementation of virtualization, it has become easy to allocate the required data and transfer them to the appropriate authorities. Moreover, there is no limitation of data transfer and can be transferred to a far distance with minimal charges.
- Remove system failure risks:
While performing any function, it often happens that the system might malfunction in critical timing such that this system failure could be adverse for a company’s resources and also deteriorate its reputation.
This system failure can be protected with virtualization as users could perform the same task simultaneously over multiple devices, and the accumulated data can also be retrieved anytime with any device.
Along with it, the server has the two working sides that makes data accessible at any point of time, if one primary server goes down, the secondary server is there to deliver access to the users when they demand to retrieve data for their use
The Disadvantages of Virtualization
1. It can have a high cost of implementation.
The cost for the average individual or business when virtualization is being considered will be quite low. For the providers of a virtualization environment, however, the implementation costs can be quite high. Hardware and software are required at some point and that means devices must either be developed, manufactured, or purchased for implementation.
2. It still has limitations.
Not every application or server is going to work within an environment of virtualization. That means an individual or corporation may require a hybrid system to function properly. This still saves time and money in the long run, but since not every vendor supports virtualization and some may stop supporting it after initially starting it, there is always a level of uncertainty when fully implementing this type of system.
3. It creates a security risk.
Information is our modern currency. If you have it, you can make money. If you don’t have it, you’ll be ignored. Because data is crucial to the success of a business, it is targeted frequently. The average cost of a data security breach in 2017, according to a report published by the Ponemon Institute, was $3.62 million. For perspective: the chances of being struck by lightning are about 1 in a million. The chances of experiencing a data breach while using virtualization? 1 in 4.
4. It creates an availability issue.
The primary concern that many have with virtualization is what will happen to their work should their assets not be available. If an organization cannot connect to their data for an extended period of time, they will struggle to compete in their industry. And, since availability is controlled by third-party providers, the ability to stay connected is not in one’s control.
5. It creates a scalability issue.
Although you can grow a business or opportunity quickly because of virtualization, you may not be able to become as large as you’d like. You may also be required to be larger than you want to be when first starting out. Because many entities share the same resources, growth creates lag within a virtualization network. One large presence can take resources away from several smaller businesses and there would be nothing anyone could do about it.
6. It requires several links in a chain that must work together cohesively.
If you have local equipment, then you are in full control of what you can do. With virtualization, you lose that control because several links must work together to perform the same task. Let’s using the example of saving a document file. With a local storage device, like a flash drive or HDD, you can save the file immediately and even create a backup. Using virtualization, your ISP connection would need to be valid. Your LAN or Wi-Fi would need to be working. Your online storage option would need to be available. If any of those are not working, then you’re not saving that file.
7. It takes time.
Although you save time during the implementation phases of virtualization, it costs users time over the long-run when compared to local systems. That is because there are extra steps that must be followed to generate the desired result.
The advantages and disadvantages of virtualization show us that it can be a useful tool for individuals, SMBs, entrepreneurs, and corporations when it is used properly. Because it is so easy to use, however, some administrators begin adding new servers or storage for everything and that creates sprawl. By staying disciplined and aware of communication issues, many of the disadvantages can be tempered, which is why this is such an effective modern system.
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