What is Virtualization?
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an operating system, a storage device or network resources. For example you can run a virtual Windows operating system within an actual Linux system, thereby giving you two working systems on one set of hardware.
- Less hardware is required to run the same amount of software, therefore saving in hardware costs. You could happily run all your applications on one server while running four virtual servers inside it performing other roles.
- Data recovery is simplified. If your virtual server becomes corrupted then you just delete it and restore from a virtual backup.
- Allows you to test different software configurations on different platforms before you deploy it.
- Reduces energy consumption.
- Improved system reliability and security. Virtualization of systems helps prevent crashes due to memory corruption caused by software like device drivers.
- Magnified physical failures. If your main hard drive (or raid configuration) containing all your physical and virtual data goes down you would have to restore all your servers (physical and virtual).
- Virtualization requires more memory and processing power. This would need to be factored into any virtualization strategy.
- Training. Administrators might not have the skills necessary to administer a virtual environment.
- Complex troubleshooting when things don’t work. Is there a issue with the virtual machine or some other problem?
Virtual Software choices
There is a multitude of companies offering their own flavour of virtual software. The main ones are detailed below:
Oracle Virtualbox www.virtualbox.org (ComTech uses this software for both our clients and our own systems)
Microsoft Hyper V www.microsoft.com
Citrix Xen Software www.citrix.com
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