What is virtualization?
The traditional IT stack features a rigid 1-1 mapping between hardware, an instance of an operating system, and a single software application which leads to tremendous under-utilization of hardware resources. The traditional model shows servers are utilized only 5-15% and having a very large pool of resources that stays idle most of the time is a huge problem for any business.
However, underutilization of resources is just the tip of the IT iceberg. Server sprawl has been a growing epidemic among expanding businesses and occurs when additional servers are inefficiently provisioned to satisfy the needs of a growing business. Eventually, the overhead costs associated with the power, cooling, network infrastructure, administrative overhead, and real estate costs cripples operating efficiency. This tremendous complexity means that it is hard to provision new infrastructure and to respond to changing business needs. IT departments waste cycles on mundane tasks, and don’t have time to focus on what really matters. For example, in most companies, a single system administrator can support only 20 servers and the time for provisioning a new server is often 6-8 weeks. Cloud computing and virtualization techniques accelerate server provisioning and empowers system administrators with greater control.
Virtualization and Cloud Computing break the rigid bond between hardware and software, and allow multiple instances of operating systems and multiple software applications to run on the same hardware box. Essentially, you get more out of what you already have.
Technically, virtualization “bundles” or “encapsulates” the operating system and a software application into a virtual machine. This entire “package” of virtual hardware – CPU, memory and networking, OS and application, is turned into a single software file. Virtual machines are hardware independent, and because they are files, they can be manipulated with the ease of file copy and paste. Virtual machines bring an entirely new level of efficiency and flexibility to the IT environment. Virtualization makes provisioning and managing the entire IT infrastructure faster and more flexible.
- Capital expense reduction
- Energy savings
- Server consolidation
- Improved data center management
- High availability
- Disaster recovery
- Fault tolerance
- Test and deployment efficiency
- Application flexibility