Introduction to Virtualization
Imagine you run a small office with ten employees. They each need a computer to do their job, and each computer needs to do different things like run accounting software, track sales data, and manage the website.
However, consider this: each of those applications will have different technical needs, such as processing power and storage. And those ten employees won’t be using those computers or applications at the exact same time or at an even rate of usage. They’ll need more or less from their computers, depending on what they’re doing and when they’re doing it. Further, let’s say you add an employee to the accounting department. That means a new computer with another copy of the software and its own backup plan. Scaling, machine by machine, is expensive and requires some time devoted to hardware troubleshooting.
Alternatively, you can embrace virtualization. Virtualization is when you use software to simulate a physical thing, like a computer hardware platform. With virtualization, several operating systems can be run in parallel on a single central processing unit (CPU).
Instead of setting up ten computers for your ten employees with ten copies of the software, you get a dedicated server that supports ten virtual machines (VMs). Immediately, you’ll see a number of benefits.
Smart Allocation of Resources
Multiple physical machines means a lot of surplus CPU capacity. Why should potential processing power just sit there, especially if one of your team members needs the extra capacity to run an intensive application? If everyone is using VMs on a dedicated server, then the extra processing will go to the application that needs it, instead of sitting idle on other machines.
Virtualization also makes more efficient use of storage. Instead of the ten separate pools of storage you’d have with physical machines, VMs on a dedicated server will use a single pool of storage, greatly improving storage efficiency. This means fewer servers are required.
Unlike physical machines, virtual machines can be deployed instantly. It’s a matter of a few clicks.
Of course, you may eventually need more processing power or storage. That’s a simple matter of adding another server to the one you already have, creating a server cluster. You’ll have more equipment running the same number of VMs, but no one using those VMs will have to deal with problems of scaling. Everything happens behind the screen, so to speak.
Virtualization helps IT managers do things like cloning, imaging, and other types of software replication. By creating custom images, your IT manager can create a default build that is easy to replicate throughout the network.
With fewer servers to maintain, virtualization offers savings not only on hardware but also on maintenance. Consolidating your workloads will reduce your costs. It’s the most efficient way to deploy resources, and that efficiency translates into lower operating costs.
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