The Buzz About Virtualization
There is a lot of buzz going around about Virtualization. What is Virtualization, and what benefits does it provide?
In this article we will take a look at the technology to see how it can provide a great deal of flexibility and cost effectiveness for IT professionals and software developers.
Virtualization technology allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single host computer. These virtual machines can run different operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and UNIX. Each virtual machine has its own set of virtual hardware resources (e.g., CPU, RAM, Hard Drive, etc) allowing the operating system to run as if it were installed on a physical machine.
The benefits of Virtualization technology are far reaching. Many organizations have moved to the virtual machine solution to consolidate multiple servers, running side by side on a single physical machine. Server consolidation allows IT professionals to fully utilize server resources, while isolating virtual machines and allowing them to run different operating systems and applications. Software developers utilize virtual machine technology to quickly test applications on different operating systems, without the hassle of setting up multiple physical machines for testing or taking the risk of causing problems by testing in a production environment.
You can run Virtualization software on pretty much any platform. Once the software is installed it is simple to create virtual machine instances. Virtual machines are just a set of files located on the host machine. You configure your virtual machine settings on the host computer, install the operating system and you are ready to go. It is a very common practice to use a master image of a virtual machine. This master image can be a fully configured machine, with the operating system and all required applications installed. You can then rapidly deploy virtual machines by copying the master image to multiple Virtualization hosts to provide zero downtime and 100% server availability.
There are a number of Virtualization products available. VMWare, which is probably the most popular, recently announced that it will be releasing a free version of its GSX Server product. This will allow any organization to host virtual machines on either Windows or Linux hosts. Other Virtualization products include Microsoft’s Virtual Server and SWsoft’s Virtuozzo, just to name a few.
Matt Peterson is a Senior Consultant for N2
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