What is Virtualization?

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The most prevalent advantage for desktop users is the ability to use apps developed for a different operating system without having to switch workstations or restart into a different operating system. This is one of the many applications of a process called Virtualization. This begs the question: what is Virtualization? Virtualization is the process of executing a virtual instance of a computer system in a layer that is insulated from the underlying physical hardware. It most commonly refers to the operation of many operating system versions on a single computer. It may appear as if the programs running on top of the virtualized machine are on a separate system dedicated to the applications. This is due to the fact that the operating system, libraries, and other applications utilized by the guest virtualized system differ from those utilized by the host operating system, which lies beneath the guest virtualized system. Virtualization is widely utilized in the computing industry for a variety of reasons. In addition to allowing server managers to run different operating systems concurrently, Virtualization enables the division of a large system into a myriad of smaller ones. This enables various users or applications with differing requirements to utilize the server more effectively. Moreover, it offers isolation, which safeguards the activities and data of one virtual machine from those of another virtual machine operating on the same host.

Virtualization’s Numerous Benefits

Virtualization offers numerous benefits to data center and service provider operators, including the following:
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Utilize resources efficiently: Prior to the introduction of Virtualization, each application server required its own dedicated physical CPU. IT professionals were required to purchase and install a new server for each application they desired to run. (IT favored having only one application, and one operating system (OS) installed on each workstation for dependability reasons.) Each physical server would inevitably have a low utilization rate. On the other hand, server virtualization enables you to execute several programs, each on its own virtual machine (VM) and operating system (OS), on a single physical computer (often an x86 server), without sacrificing the computer’s stability. This allows the entire computing power of the underlying device to be utilized.

Easier management: Using software-defined virtual machines (VMs) instead of actual computers simplifies the application and administration of software-created policies. You will be able to develop automated IT service management workflows as a result. For instance, automated deployment and configuration technologies enable administrators to define groups of virtual machines and applications as software templates’ services. This allows users to install these services in a way that is both consistent and repeatable without needing a great deal of effort or time. And it avoids the possibility of an error during manual configuration. 

  • Operating system and application breakdowns can result in downtime and hinder user productivity. Administrators are able to run multiple redundant virtual computers simultaneously and switch between them when problems arise. Typically, the expense of maintaining multiple redundant physical servers is more.

Since it takes time to purchase, install, and configure the necessary hardware for each application, the provisioning process must be accelerated. Provisioning virtual machines to execute all of your applications is significantly quicker if the requisite hardware is already in place. You may also automate it by utilizing management software and integrating it into existing operations.

What are the various types of Virtualization?

There are numerous types of Virtualization, each of which allows us to do a unique set of tasks. Let’s examine some of the numerous types, which include the following:

  • Desktop virtualization

Desktop virtualization enables the simultaneous delivery of simulated desktop environments to a number of distinct physical PCs. This allows us to simultaneously execute configuration changes and software updates on each of our virtual PCs. Local desktop virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure are the two subcategories of desktop virtualization (VDI).

  • Virtualization of network systems

One of the reasons why network virtualization simplifies the management of networks is the capability to abstract hardware components into software and then modify those elements without affecting the underlying physical hardware. We may create virtual networks, firewalls, and load-balancing techniques by utilizing network virtualization.

  • Data virtualization

Using data virtualization techniques, we can consolidate all of our data into a single source. Moreover, it lets our programs access data stored in multiple locations, in multiple formats, and originating from multiple sources. These websites may be hosted in the cloud or on-premises. We are able to effectively manage, deliver, and integrate data in real-time by utilizing data virtualization.

  • Virtualization of system operating environment

The Virtualization of operating systems enables the complete separation of programs from the underlying system. Because the hardware that makes up our system is capable of simultaneously running several instances of a variety of operating systems, we can run programs that require a certain operating system on a single computer. If necessary, it is also a fantastic method for running Linux and Windows environments concurrently.

  • Application virtualization

Using application virtualization, we can install remote applications on a server and subsequently transfer them to a user’s device. Apps can be accessed on devices other than the one on which they were originally installed, thanks to application virtualization. The application software we use does not need to be physically installed on our device’s operating system in order to function.

Common terms used in Virtualization

What is a hypervisor exactly?

A hypervisor is a type of computer program capable of creating and managing virtual machines. Traditionally, hypervisors have been divided into two classes: type one, also known as “bare metal” hypervisors, which run guest virtual machines directly on a system’s hardware and function similarly to an operating system; and type two, also known as “virtual machine monitors,” which monitor and control guest virtual machines. Type two hypervisors, often known as “hosted” hypervisors, behave more like ordinary applications and can be launched and terminated in the same manner as any other application. This partitioning approach is less used on modern computer systems, especially those employing the KVM software. 

What precisely is a virtual machine?

A virtual machine is, in simple words, an emulated version of a computer system that can be run on top of another system. Virtual machines may have access to a variety of resources, such as computing power (hardware-assisted; however, limited access to the host machine’s memory and CPU), one or more physical or virtual disk devices for storage purposes, a virtual or real network interface, as well as any shared devices, such as video cards, USB devices, or other hardware. People typically refer to a disk image when discussing a virtual computer saved on a virtual drive. It is possible for a disk image to contain the files required for a virtual machine to boot, as well as any other data the virtual machine may want for storage.

The Applications of Virtualization

  • A decoupled email, database, and web server system can be created in a cost- and time-efficient manner through the use of Virtualization.
  • Virtualization permits the development of system-critical components, like file systems and disk drivers, without jeopardizing system consistency.
  • Data within the context of the entire application stack, Virtualization necessitates the partitioning of the database layer, which sits between the storage and application levels. The data remain within the source systems and are accessible via an integrated view.
  • It is feasible to deploy virtual machines from the data center in order to create a cloud-based architecture. Virtualization facilitates the migration process to the cloud.
  • Virtualization lowers hardware reliance. There is no downtime as a result of the ability to migrate virtual computers from one piece of hardware to another.