What is Virtualization?


by Stephanie Spino | www.everonit.com

In the early 90’s, virtualization emerged as a term known only to the most advanced tech professionals. Virtualization has been gaining popularity, recently becoming an everyday buzzword to even the “not-so-tech-savvy” - namely you and me. I must admit I have heard the term on more than one occasion and was unclear of its meaning until conducting research for this article. Although this piece will only scratch the surface on this complex subject, it’s a good introduction to a topic that will most likely be resurfacing in your future conversations.

Virtualization in lay terms

Wikipedia defines virtualization as the abstraction of computer resources. In basic terms, it creates a virtual version of a device or resource. Virtualization makes it feasible for hardware to be converted into software; when managed properly, it can introduce more efficient ways for users to manage technology.

Are there different types?

Three common categories of virtualization are: Network, Server, and Storage. All of these types can offer ways to improve upon the functionalities of your technology. From increasing the amount of available data space, to expanding memory and enhancing backups, the various types of virtualization have much to offer those who sensibly implement it into their businesses operation.

An example of virtualization that most of us can relate to: Multiple user profiles on a single operating system (when you log into a computer with your user name, the unit loads all of your personal settings while “hiding” the settings of its other users.) On a higher technological level, virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run on a single machine (just as Mac’s do.)

What are businesses doing with it?

I would like to pinpoint a few reasons that certain businesses have turned to virtualization: Disaster recovery – In the event that one system goes down, the back up will be ready to start running applications virtually; Desktop virtualization – Enables you to run two operations systems on one unit; and Application virtualization – Allows you to effectively minimize, isolate, or even eliminate conflicts related to your operating system.

A number of businesses that are already using virtualization to some capacity have expressed certain benefits. For starters, virtual memory is complex, allowing computer software access to more memory than is actually physically installed. Virtualization makes it possible for users to “fool” their operating systems into believing that a group of servers is a single pool of computing resources. Most businesses implement virtualization with hopes of achieving new ways of managing/storing certain data, etc. For these benefits and others, we suspect more businesses will begin turning to virtualization in the future.

Where do I go from here?

As businesses continue exploring the possibilities and various applications of virtualization, it’s very likely that new ways of increasing productivity and efficiency levels in the workplace will continue surfacing. Only time will tell what significant changes virtualization may hold for businesses. If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact [email protected].

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