“Unlike ‘real relationships’, ‘virtual relationships’ are easy to enter and to exit. They look smart &clean, feel easy to use, when compared with the heavy, slow-moving, messy real stuff.” –Zygmunt Bauman (Polish sociologist)
Why go ‘Virtual’?
Time, Money and Space have become dearer to the earthlings with the recent advancements in technology. Be it a notepad used to take notes orz the classroom where the notes are to be taken, everything has been made non-physical. Nowadays a notepad means MS-Notepad and a classroom means the virtual classroom with video lectures. Letters have been replaced by e-mail, conferences are video conferences, Books are e-books, tests are online tests and the list goes on.Thus the basic motivation for virtualization is the need to optimise the usage of time, money and space.
“Virtual” means the imitation of ‘Reality’. So creating anything that is an exact replica of the original physical entity and that, which occupies less space, consumes less time and costs less is the virtual entity.
In the computing world, Virtualization is a technology that has been exploited for various purposes like storage, networking and data centres. Virtualization has been one of the hottest areas of research and development for the past half a century. Its origin dates back to the 1960s where the technology was first implemented in the Mainframe Computers.
How helpful is Virtualization?
Data centres of organisations are brimming with servers. To handle such a scenario, replicas of a server are created within a single server and are called the Virtual Servers or Virtual machines. This technology called the Server Virtualization (SV) is the most common type of Virtualization.
Organisations used to have separate servers catering to each of their distinct purposes. This led to what is called the “server sprawl” in data centre. This is exactly the situation where SV not only reduced the organisations Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) but also increased their earnings by accommodating multiple virtual servers within a single server.
Virtual machines NEVER REVEAL secrets!
This is because the virtual machines are the best replicas of real machines. They provide an abstraction of the actual physical resource above which they are running. Multiple virtual machines are run simultaneously on a server and they share the physical resource. But the user can never find out that the underlying server is actually being shared.
Virtual machines are VIRTUOUS!
Exactly! The most important point to be observed is that the virtual machines function completely independent of each other. They don’t interfere with their neighbours’ affairs nor disturb them. The software that takes care of this non-interference is called the HYPERVISOR. This aspect of virtualization greatly helps the organisations in that they can run unrelated workloads in the same server.
Virtual machines make SERVER ACTIVE 24×7!
A certain virtual machine may highly utilize the server during daytime and under-utilize the server during night time. There could be another virtual machine that may highly utilize the server during night time and under utilize the server during daytime. Such virtual machines can be created on the same server so that the server never remains idle and is 24×7 active. This aspect of virtualization helps the organisationsutilize the servers to the maximum.
Virtual Machines carry LESS LUGGAGE for TRAVEL!
Yes, virtual machines can be transferred from one server to another very easily as they don’t require any complex operations for migration. The overhead involved in migration of virtual machines from one server to another is very minimal or nil. The organisations can even start by creating virtual machines in a small server. Once this server is chock-full, all the virtual machines can be migrated with ease to the new big server. Thus it helps in the scalability and reduced initial costs.
Readers can also experience the power of virtualization by
- Installing Hypervisor software in their laptops and PCs
- Create multiple Virtual Machines.
- Run different operating systems in the created virtual machines.
The popular hypervisor softwares available are