Server virtualization software is a type of program that simulates multiple computer systems within a single physical computer. Often referred to as containers, these virtual computers are completely isolated and run independent of one another. The containers typically are capable of running their own operating system, applications, and Web services.
These programs mainly are used to maximize physical resources and harness the true potential of the underlying hardware. Although virtualization software is a relative newcomer to the information technology (IT) field, the technology it utilizes is not. In fact, the concept of computer virtualization goes back to the 1960s when large mainframe systems were partitioned to achieve more efficient hardware utilization.
Server virtualization software usually can deliver significant cost savings to almost any organization. Instead of running ten physical servers, a company can host five virtual servers on two physical machines. This technology is particularly useful in the data center environment where facilities can virtualize hardware at a ratio of ten-to-one, or higher. This greatly decreases the number of servers they require and frees up floor space while helping to boost performance and availability. Many data center operators have discovered that they can dramatically reduce their operating costs by consolidating multiple servers into single multi-processor, multi-core servers.
The benefits of server virtualization software are more than simple cost efficiency. In the typical server farm, it also can be used to facilitate discovery recovery. Since the workload optimally is distributed in this environment, it becomes considerably easier for operators to ensure continuity in the event of an outage. Another notable benefit to using fewer physical servers is that the power requirements usually are substantially lower. For this reason, server virtualization often is linked to energy-efficient initiatives.
Server virtualization software typically is provided by a number of different vendors. Some of the most well-known providers are Oracle, Parallels, and Microsoft. VMware largely is recognized as the leading vendor and one of the pioneers in virtualization technology. While these solutions vary greatly in terms of price, features, and functionality, all strive to meet the same goal – that is to enable the better utilization of the computer and its resources.
Virtualization is one of the most talked-about technologies in the IT world. It has been openly embraced and rapidly adopted by organizations across various industries. From the data center to the office to the client side, server virtualization software usually plays a huge role in ensuring a more efficient computing experience.