Virtualization?  What is it? Why use it?  These are good questions to ask yourself and your business.  I am not talking about a virtual person or Bitmoji, but servers, desktops, switching and more.

While many people think of this as a new technology.  Virtulization got its’ start with large mainframes decades ago, to avoid wasting expensive processing power, it really caught hold in the early 2000s.

Before virtualization, servers would run one application on one server with one operating system.  The number of servers would grow depending on how many applications were needed.  This would lead to expensive hardware purchases and very little of the hardware resources used.  On average each server would only use 12 to 15 percent of its resources.   Leaving up to 85 percent of server resources completely unused.

Virtualization is possible because of a software layer called a hypervisor.  The hypervisor is used to create “software containers” known as virtual machines (VM).  The virtual machines can be servers with different operation systems or desktops, such as Windows 10.  Every VM created on the hypervisor is separate and operate independently of each other.   Virtualization allows you to run more applications on fewer physical servers thus using resources effectively.

In a nutshell virtualization takes the CPU, memory, network and storage of the physical hardware and shares it through the hypervisor to the virtual desktop or server.

This technology also lends itself to other capabilities.   High availability, migrating VM’s from one host to another, adding memory and processing power all while the VM is running.  Backups can change from file and folders to having a complete image of the VM for disaster recovery.  The options with virtualization become agile and cost effective.

If this is still confusing here is how coworker told me to explain virtualization.  “Let’s say you have a loaf of bread, cut it in half and make one a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It works, but slice it up and make more sandwiches out the same loaf” (Brandon Huber).   Who doesn’t like more PB & J?

Scott Young – Senior Network/Server Analyst

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