What is virtualization?
Virtualization means to make something which doesn’t exist physically. In other words logical representation of something.
In IT infrastructure virtualization is a technology used for creating virtual environment. It will be exactly like a physical infrastructure with all the same kind of services and performance. As we all know a physical server consists of a motherboard, RAM modules, CPU’s, Power supply and storage (Hard disks). The same configuration will be available to create a virtual server and will serve the purpose.
Why do we need Virtualization?
Virtualization is a technology which helps to reduce the cost of infrastructures in terms of maintenance, hardware faults, and hardware upgrade. It makes the job of server admins easier to manage the infrastructure using a single console.
Not only servers, virtualization is also used by applications and user can access them from any part of the world without installing them in their laptop or desktop. Below are the types of virtualization most commonly used in today’s IT industry
This is used to create virtual servers where the resources such as RAM, CPU, hard disk and NIC card can be manages. Server virtualization provides proper utilization of resources in an environment.
Creating and allocating resources such as VLAN, virtual switch, virtual routers, and preparing a virtual network which makes the infrastructure easy to manage and cost-effective.
Storage is one of the most expensive and important infrastructure component present in IT industry. Storage holds all data which is required to run the business. Combining multiple storage boxes a storage pool can be created and that can be served as a storage space as per the requirement. This also provides flexibility to manage space and redundancy.
This is one of the highly used technology across the globe to reduce use and maintenance of desktops and laptops. This technology helps to create VDI’s (Virtual Desktop Interface) which can be booted from any desktop or laptop. This also helps in purchasing and installing the operating system and application on each user’s desktop or laptop.
Here the application are being installed on a servers which can be remotely accessed from laptop or desktop without installing them in the user’s laptop or desktop. This gives a great flexibility to manage application as per the requirement of the user’s.
How virtualization is done?
In order to use this virtualization technology we have to know the platforms on which these services are available.There are many companies which provides these services but below are some
- Citrix (Xenserver)
- Microsoft (Hyper-V)
We will discuss about VMware here. As part of virtualization we need to know the architecture of this technology
As we know when we buy a laptop or desktop we install an (Operating System) OS. It can be Linux, Windows or Mac. Similarly when it comes to virtualization on a bare metal server the hyper-visor is installed. Hyper-visors need less amount of space and resources for running.
Hyper-visor is virtualization operating system or software on which the entire infrastructure is built. These Hyper visors are available in two types:
- Type 1 Hyper-visor
- Type 2 Hyper-visor
Type 1 Hyper-visors: These can be installed directly on a hardware and also known as native, bare metal or embedded hyper-visors. This hyper-visor is used widely on all the all critical business infrastructures.
Few type 1 hyper-visors are ESXi from VMware, Xen server from citrix.
Type 2 Hyper-visors: These require operating system before the installation. They cannot be deployed directly on bare metal hardware. Type 2 are used in client machines where criticality is less.
Example: VMware Workstation
Next: Create your own virtual machine
Advantages of Virtualization
Around 40% of the company’s budget is spent on infrastructure hardware. Buying multiple servers is a huge investment. Virtualization helps to minimize the cost and utilize the existing resources properly. This also helps in reducing energy costs.
Backup and Restore
Unexpectedly disaster might come in any form (floods, power outages, cyber-attacks, theft, storms etc.) which can make a huge loss in business operations. Virtualization helps to take backups and restore them swiftly and minimizes the loss.
In today’s word workforce is increasing and to operate it more smoothly a good a good continuity plan is required. Virtualization provides more flexibility and accessibility to access the files and data from anywhere.
Seamless IT operations
With virtualization the overall management of the IT infrastructure becomes easier and hassle free.
Disadvantages of Virtualization
For setting up a virtual infrastructure needs lots of software and hardware purchase. Although it is a onetime investment.
Sometimes due to compatibility issue 3rd party software’s doesn’t work as they are supposed to. Then a new level of license needs to be purchased with more features.
Implementing and managing a virtual environment will require a different skill set or require to upgrade the existing IT engineer’s skills which might incur cost.