Today we will cover the basic concepts associated with the term server virtualization. We will discuss what this technology is, what its types are, how it is beneficial and what kind of businesses can use it.
But before we start on server virtualization, let us have a brief look at what virtualization is in general.
Virtualization is the technology through which a virtual instance of a physical resource is created. The physical resource can either be computer hardware, network or a storage device. Virtualization is of seven types but today we will discuss only server virtualization.
Server virtualization is the technology through which a physical server is partitioned into several virtual servers in order to fully utilize server resources. In simple words, the physical server and its resources are hidden from the users and software is used to create multiple virtual environments called virtual server or virtual private servers.
Server Virtualization Types
Server virtualization is of three different kinds which are mentioned below:
In full virtualization, the hypervisor directly interacts with the disk space and CPU of the physical server and keeps every virtual server isolated from one another. All the guest servers have their own operating systems. The hypervisor monitors the resources of the physical server and allocates them to the appropriate virtual servers when they are running their applications. But hypervisors require processing power and resources as well which is why full virtualization slows down the overall performance of the server. Also, any new device driver’s installation can prove to be a difficult task due to the complex nature of the server’s infrastructure.
Para-virtualization is based on a Hypervisor. A Hypervisor is a layer that is present between the OS and the hardware. This layer provides all the features and services that are crucial for smooth management of multiple virtual machines.
In para-virtualization, a software interface that is similar to the hardware is shown to the virtual machines. The guest servers are aware of the physical server’s demands and one another’s presence. The hypervisor also does not require a large amount of processing power to operate the guest operating systems which leads to an easier process, enhanced performance of the system and elimination of emulation overhead. The only limitation this type of server virtualization has is that it requires modification of guest OS.
System Level or Operating System Virtualization
In system level or OS virtualization, the hypervisor is not present and the host operating system performs all the functionalities of a virtualized hypervisor. But by eliminating the hypervisor from the equation, all the guest servers need to run on the same operating system. This leads to the limitation of a homogenous environment where you cannot deploy different operating systems at the same time i.e. all guest servers need to be either on Windows or Linux, not a mix and match of both. This type of server virtualization is commonly used by web hosting providers for creating virtual web servers.
Server Virtualization Benefits
There are many benefits associated with server virtualization. It is a cost-efficient method that reduces hardware related expenses. It also helps in lowering the operational cost and conserves server space by running multiple virtual operating systems on a single server.
How to find out whether server virtualization is right for your company?
If you are confused whether server virtualization should be incorporated into your company’s system then consider the following scenarios where this virtualization can prove to be beneficial:
- If your business requires expansion in terms of applications and operating systems with putting a dent in your budget.
- If you want to reduce the operational hours of your IT staff.
- If you require a low downtime system with simplified backup options.
Server Virtualization is a technology that gives you complete control over your server.