Virtualization is currently a popular technology because it can save time and money. There are many options to choose from. It may seem confusing though, because of the complexities and choices that need to be made. Here are ten things you should know before you plan a deployment.
Virtualization Is Not New
This is not a new technology that was recently developed. It was first utilized with mainframes over thirty years ago. This technology has made its way into the world of Windows and Linux servers during the last ten years, becoming economically viable because of server sprawl.
There Are Several Types of Virtualization
Server virtualization, which is used for server consolidation, is the most common form used today. Desktop virtualization is used to run legacy software in a VM. Application virtualization is used to separate the application configuration from the operating system. This allows the application to be run on users’ desktops without the need to install the software locally. Virtualizing storage utilizes SAN technology to provide storage for virtual servers, instead of using local hard disks on the physical server.
Software Makes Virtualization Possible
This software is used to doing the things that we previously relied on hardware to do. Server virtualization uses software to emulate a physical server. This enables the usage of one very powerful server to run many virtual servers instead of many physical servers. Server consolidation reduces hardware costs while reducing data center requirements. To see more information on a slideshow presentation on virtulization click here.
Not All Virtualization Software Is the Same
There are several different vendors that offer very different solutions. Choosing the best solution is dependent on knowing what the goal needs to be achieved. Desktops have very different requirements from storage or servers. Microsoft’s Virtual PC or VMware’s Workstation would be suitable for desktop uses, but not for server consolidation.
Determine Application Compatibility
There are many applications that will not work in a virtual machine. Because generic hardware is emulated by software, applications do not have access to the physical hardware. Some applications require access to the physical hardware, such as a scanning application needing to access a scanner. It is important to check with software vendors to ensure their applications will work in a virtual environment.
Virtualization Isn’t Just For Windows
There are several different vendors offering solutions in the virtualization market. The two most popular solutions are VMware and Microsoft. Both offer solutions for Windows. There are some lesser known vendors that offer support for Linux and Mac. Open VZ can create virtual servers running on a Linux host operating system. Citrix has its Xen solution for running Linux as a host operating system for server consolidation. Parallels offer a solution for running Linux or Windows on a Mac.
Virtualization Helps with Disaster Recovery
Traditional disaster recovery can require that a server be rebuilt in another location, which can be a time consuming process. Virtualization allows for a server image to be backed up in one location and restored in another location. This saves hours of work and reduces downtime.
64-Bit is Better Than 32-Bit
It is best to use a 64-bit system running a 64-bit host operating system. 64-bit systems support more memory, and in some cases, they support more processors. Avoid using 32-bit systems due to their hardware limitations
Virtualization Can Be Used to Increase Security
One of the surprising benefits of virtualization is increased security. Different server roles can be isolated in different virtual machines, instead of running many server roles on one server. Isolating server roles provides a more secure environment. Applications that may pose a security risk can be placed in an isolated virtual machine to limit exposure.
Virtual Machines Need Resources
It is important to understand that the more virtual machines you have, the more resources you will need. The host operating system will need resources along with each VM needing resources. Large amounts of memory are always required. When planning hardware requirements, make sure you give each VM enough resources.
David Malmborg works with Dell. When David is not working he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. For more information on virtualization, David recommends visiting Dell.co.uk.