Can Virtualization Benefit your Enterprise?
Posted June 2009
Virtualization projects are the focus of many IT professionals who are trying to consolidate servers or data centers, decrease costs and launch successful “green” conservation initiatives. Virtualizing IT resources can be thought of as squeezing an enterprise’s computer processing power, memory, network bandwidth and storage capacity onto the smallest number of hardware platforms possible and then apportioning those resources to operating systems and applications on a time-sharing basis.
This approach aims to make the most efficient possible use of IT resources. It differs from historical computing and networking models, which have typically involved inextricably binding a given software application or service to a specific operating system (OS), which, in turn, has been developed to run on a particular hardware platform. By contrast, virtualization decouples these components, making them available from a common resource pool. In this respect, virtualization prevents IT departments from having to worry about the particular hardware or software platforms installed as they deploy additional services. The decoupling and optimization of these components is possible whether you are virtualizing servers, desktops, applications, storage devices or networks.
To virtualize some or all of a computing infrastructure’s resources, IT departments require special virtualization software, firmware or a third-party service that makes use of virtualization software or firmware. This software/firmware component, called the hypervisor or the virtualization layer, performs the mapping between virtual and physical resources. It is what enables the various resources to be decoupled, then aggregated and dispensed, irrespective of the underlying hardware and, in some cases, the software OS. In effect, the hypervisor takes over hardware management from the OS. In addition to the hypervisor virtualization technology, the organization overseeing the virtualization project requires a virtualization management tool – which might be procured from the same or a different supplier – to set up and manage virtual devices and policies.
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