Virtual machines stormed the IT world, bringing new ways of running IT environments. In a world where the amount of data gathered, transformed, and stored skyrocketed, there sprouted a need for more powerful hardware or optimization of usage of the existing one. And there the VMs are a great solution. In this article, we will discuss the types of virtualization. We will also take a closer look at the benefits and downsides of virtualization and virtualizing your infrastructure.
What is virtualization?
Let’s start with answering the question: what is virtualization? Our first step, a definition provided by Wikipedia:
A virtualization is an act of creating a virtual, rather than physical, version of something, including virtual computer hardware platforms, storage devices, and computer network resources.
But what does it mean for your IT environment?
Well, there is no doubt that the hardware we use is highly underutilized. With virtualization as your tool, you can easily use your hardware resources, so that you utilize them to the fullest extent. This is done by distributing hardware resources among many environments or tasks.
Let’s now take a look at what are the benefits of using virtualization, and what are the downsides of this solution.
Types of virtualization
Virtualization is being used by businesses of all kinds as a method to reduce IT costs, improve security, and increase operational efficiency. Which one could be best for your organization? Here, we’ll go through some of the most prevalent virtualization techniques and how they may transform your company.
Desktop virtualization allows users’ operating systems to be stored remotely on a data center server. It allows the user to virtually access their desktop from any machine, at any place. User mobility, portability, and simple administration of software installation, updates, and patches are the main advantages of desktop virtualization.
All physical networking equipment is combined into a single software-based resource using network virtualization. It also separates available bandwidth into many, independent channels, each of which may be dynamically assigned to servers and devices. Businesses that have a big number of users and need to maintain their systems up and operating at all times might profit from network virtualization. Your network performance will skyrocket thanks to distributed channels, allowing you to provide services and applications quicker than ever before.
Application virtualization allows a user to access a server-based application from a remote location. The server keeps all of the application’s personal data and other characteristics, yet it may still be run on a local workstation over the internet. A user who has to run two separate versions of the same program is an example of this. Hosted apps and packaged applications are examples of technologies that leverage application virtualization.
Because it requires combining your actual hard drives into a single cluster, this sort of virtualization is relatively simple and cost-effective to install. When it comes to disaster recovery planning, storage virtualization comes in useful since the data saved on your virtual storage may be copied and transported to another site. You can minimize the difficulties and expenses of managing many storage devices by consolidating your storage into a single system.
Hardware virtualization, perhaps the most widespread sort of virtualization today, is enabled by a virtual machine manager (VM) known as a “hypervisor.” The hypervisor produces virtual copies of computers and operating systems and consolidates them into a single big physical server to maximize the use of all hardware resources. It also allows users to run multiple operating systems on the same machine at the same time.
Pros of using virtualization
Reduced it costs
There are several financial benefits coming from virtualization when it comes to IT infrastructure management. With the fewer physical hardware servers needed for the same computing power, the cost of maintaining it goes down. With virtualization, the time it takes to administer those devices goes down, by automating operations. With fewer physical devices, there is less energy consumption, cooling power, and data center volume, which results in reduced costs.
Efficient resource usage
Virtualization allows companies to get the most out of their hardware and resource investments. Managing client data center settings gets more difficult as they expand in size and complexity. By providing resource management skills to assist boost efficiency in these virtual settings, virtualization may considerably minimize this complexity.
We can now operate numerous virtual servers on a single virtual host and make greater use of the resources available thanks to virtualization.
Virtualization enables users to install or construct several virtual machines in order to work on them simultaneously. Not only can you deploy them, but you can also quickly access them at the same time.
One of the biggest features or advantages of virtualization is the ease with which you may add a new virtual machine. Even newbies with only the most basic skills may set up a virtual instance.
Availability and reliability
Virtualization’s sophisticated capabilities, such as the ability to have virtual instances available at all times, are a big benefit. The flexibility to relocate the virtual instance from one server location to another is a major benefit here. It can be done without having to close and restart any already operating processes.
It also assures that none of your data is lost during the conversion. As a result, even if there are unforeseen outages, your instance will remain operational at all times.
Quick and easy setup
It takes some time to set up physical systems and servers. After you’ve made all of the necessary connections, you’ll need to install the necessary operating system and applications, which would take even a few hours. On the other hand, using virtualization, you can quickly be up and running with a functional configuration.
Ease of recovery
Duplication, backup, and recovery are further simplified using virtual instances on remote servers. With modern tools that allow near real-time data backup and mirroring, you may be confident that you will never lose data.
They may simply pick up from the last stored location mirrored on another virtual instance and run with it in the event of an outage or a breakdown. This guarantees that the business runs smoothly at all times. With this, businesses may achieve maximum efficiency.
Simple cloud migration
Organizations are eager to go to the cloud as part of the current digital transformation wave for a variety of reasons. The difficulty here is migrating such a vast volume of data that is now stored on-premise. Because much of the data was already on a server, virtualization would have made the work considerably easier. As a result, transferring everything to the cloud would be simpler.
Cons of using virtualization
High entry cost
Virtualization, as beneficial as it is, is not without drawbacks, one of which is the large initial cost. Virtualization does undoubtedly aid in the reduction of operating costs. However, the cost of setting up servers and storage is more than it is for a standard arrangement.
It is a terrible bet for businesses that choose a huge setup at the start. Instead, they might begin with a traditional desktop arrangement and then transition to desktop virtualization over time.
Skill required to manage
An entry-level user can find VM solutions a little difficult to use at first. This is an entirely new ecosystem after all. Whether you believe it or not, without understanding the fundamentals it’s possible to end up with the incorrect installation. Furthermore, in the worst-case scenario, you may damage your storage device. There is an easy fix. VMware did prepare outstanding documentation for its users and a very task-oriented knowledge base. All these resources are extremely helpful to all kinds of users. Word of advice: always read the manuals provided by the vendor and join some online training, if provided.
True, virtualization enables the most efficient use of all resources. It is, however, a dilemma when you require that extra boost but do not have access to it. In virtualization, resources are shared. The same resources that would have been utilized by a single user are now shared by three or four of them. Depending on the activities being performed, the overall available resources may not be divided evenly or in a certain ratio. As the complexity of jobs grows, so does the need for system performance. As a result, the work will take significantly longer to accomplish.
Virtualization and backup
Virtualization is being used by a growing number of businesses. That is why we should mention one more crucial aspect to consider – the security of your data and backup of your virtual environment. For that, the best option is to use third-party backup software that allows you to control all aspects of creating VMs backup. You should consider using Xopero ONE to protect your VMware infrastructure.
Xopero ONE VMware backup is simple by design:
Xopero offers complete data protection of your VMware vCenter-managed and standalone ESXi workloads. This allows you to all the benefits of virtualization without any interruptions.
- Plan-based backup: choose between a predefined backup plan and a fully customized one to tailor it to your organization’s needs.
- Multi-storage system allows you to keep your backups locally or in a cloud (Amazon S3, Azure, Wasabi & more) – wherever you want.
- Super-friendly interface with intuitive and data-driven dashboards to monitor all changes.
- LAN-free transfer (HotAdd and SAN transport) to speed up your backup without any extra optimizations.
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