Virtualization technology is the process of creating a virtual platform with the aid of virtualization software. These software’s acts as a layer between the primary system and the secondary system or virtual systems. It allows the virtual system to access the resources of the primary system such as RAM, ROM, Storage, CPU, Network etc.

Though Virtualization has its roots since early 1960’s it has gained a huge popularity recently between 2003-2010. It leads to the evolution of latest trending technologies such as the Cloud Computing & Datacenters, Yes, Virtualization technology has been responsible for laying seeds for Cloud technology to an extent.

Do you know Virtualization is already a part of our lives, let me ask you a simple question, have you ever formatted your computers or laptops? I am sure most of us have, the first thing we do after formatting the hard drive we have to create different partitions on it. This is nothing but hardware virtualization in which we virtually divide the hard disk into multiple logical partitions.

Virtualization Functionality

The most key form of virtualization is server virtualization. In server virtualization, a layer of software also called as the hypervisor is integrated on the underlying hardware. It’s like fooling the guest operating system, it has no clue that it is on a virtualized hardware. Though it doesn’t perform at its optimum level as compared to the operating system on the true hardware. Today, Virtualisation is not limited to server virtualization it has extended to CPU, Network, Storage, ROM, RAM etc. The hypervisor enables us to create multiple systems on a single hardware and every single can work on different operating systems and handle different applications as required.

virtualization architectures

Source: TechTarget

Types of Virtualization

Hardware Virtualization/Server Virtualization

Hardware Virtualization is nothing but creating a completely new system on the existing primary system via virtualization that acts as a real computer with an operating system it is also termed as a virtual machine. For e.g. creating a virtual machine via means of hypervisor or virtual machine manager with Ubuntu Linux operating system on a computer which is already running a Microsoft Windows OS. Here both the host system and the virtual machine utilizes same hardware of the primary system and work on completely distinct environments and handles completely distinct applications.

Network Virtualization

Network Virtualization is nothing but virtually pooling & managing all the available network resources such as IP’s, Switches, Routers, NIC’s, VLAN tags etc. via means of tools such as routing tables in real time and each channel is independently secured and distinct from one another. For e.g. Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows us to create a virtual network over the internet without the use of actual wires or physical hardware. Network virtualization can be categorized into two categories viz

  • Internal – Provides a network to a single system.
  • External – Combines network array or parts of networks into a virtual unit.

Network Virtualization

Source: Cisco

Storage Virtualization

We have seen worker bees working in a hive similarly in Storage virtualization the servers are the worker bees in an array which are managed with a centralized virtual storage system. Storage virtualization is generally classified into two categories viz

  • Block – It replaces controllers and takes over at the disk level & works before the file system exists.
  • File –  The server that uses the storage must have the software installed on it in order to enable file-level usage.

storage virtualization

Source: Wikibon

Application Server Virtualization

Application Server Virtualization also referred as ‘Advanced Load Balancing’ it enables IT departments to balance workloads of an application in an agile way. It spreads applications across servers and servers across applications. It also enables to manage the servers as a single instance. ASV gives a better network security compliance as only one server is visible to the public while the rest are hidden behind a reverse proxy network security appliance.

Application virtualization

Application virtualization is the process by which a computer program is completely segregated from the underlying operating system. Whenever executed it behaves as if it is directly interfacing with the original OS. Though it is not traditionally installed on the system hardware and can be isolated or sandboxed as per convenience.

App virtualization

Source: Wiki

Data Virtualization

Data virtualization enables to decrease the data errors and workloads. It also enables to simply manipulate data, where is it physically located and how is it formatted.

Data virtualization

 

Source: Wiki

Desktop Virtualization

The Phrase ‘Work from Anywhere’ is practically possible because of Desktop Virtualization it provides work convenience and security. It enables us to remotely access the data from anywhere and anytime through any device. It provides a lot of flexibility and feasibility for employees and the data is safe and secure as it is stored at a centralized location.

virtual desktop

Nested Virtualization

Nested Virtualization technology enables us to run one or more hypervisor within a virtual machine for e.g. we can create a virtual machine using hardware virtualization and deploy application virtualization within that virtual machine.

Nested Virtualization

Source: Wiki

Memory Virtualization

Memory Virtualization is the process of aggregating & pooling the complete Random-Access Memory (RAM) resources from the network grid or cluster into a single memory pool. It provides a greater memory capacity and the disk drive also serves as an extension of the main memory.

Implementations

  • Application-level integration: Applications running on connected computers directly connected to the memory pool through an API or the file system.

Source: Znet

  • Operating System Level Integration – The operating system first connects to the memory pool, and makes that pooled memory available to applications.

operating-system

Source: Znet

Virtualization has certainly made it very convenient and cost-effective for organizations to handle their IT operations from a centralized location it has also enabled them to be in complete control of their IT infrastructures with considerably reducing OPEX and CAPEX overheads and optimally utilizing the resources.