Virtualization is a hot commodity in the IT world, and a technology that enables organizations to get the most from their hardware and applications. While mainly associated with servers, it can be applied in a number different of ways. The most common virtualization applications involve servers, desktops, and software applications.
Server virtualization is perhaps the most widely recognized of all virtualization applications. This is facilitated by a hypervisor, also known as a virtual machine monitor or virtualization manager. A thin layer of software, a hypervisor partitions a single machine, and simulates multiple virtual machines within it. One of the many benefits this application offers is optimal hardware utilization, which can result in reduced management overhead and energy consumption.
The modern desktop is proof that virtualization applications are not limited to server hardware. In it, the virtualization process involves separating the applications on a desktop from the physical machine, creating a virtual desktop that can typically be accessed by the user on a remote server. The keyboard, mouse, display, and other features of a virtual desktop are usually redirected across a network by utilizing one of various remote protocols. Benefits of desktop virtualization include centralized access and management, reduced energy consumption, and lower cost of ownership.
Most virtualization applications share commonalities, and application virtualization is a prime example. This type is quite similar to desktop virtualization due to its ability to separate applications from the physical hardware. Likewise, it takes the concept utilized in servers and applies it to software programs. Application virtualization creates an abstract layer between the operating system and the programs that run inside it. This process enables programs to be delivered as dynamic services that can be added or removed without being physically installed.
Though often associated with computer hardware and software, many other virtualization applications exist. For example, professionals in the IT sector have discovered the benefits of virtual storage, virtual networks, and virtual infrastructures. While unique in their own way, each application borrows the concept of maximizing resource utilization.
The array of virtualization applications reveals that this technology is far more than a server-based concept. It can be applied across a broad range of computing areas, allowing organizations to maximize everything from their desktops and applications, to networks and storage facilities. When considering the rate at which new virtual solutions are being introduced, it may be safe to assume that more innovative virtualization applications are on the horizon.