Network virtualization has taken the telecom industry by storm, enabling operators to create virtual versions of devices and resources typically reserved for proprietary hardware. Numerous benefits are anchored to the idea, including reducing operating costs, eliminating downtime and providing greater agility, to name just a few. Not all forms of virtualization are created equal, however. To provide some clarity to the muddled waters, the following is a rundown of the different shades of virtualization.
1. Application virtualization involves severing the operating system from the application. Rather than limiting the application to a single computer, users can access it on numerous devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets. The ability to run programs anywhere while storing them on a central computer improves the way software security updates are deployed. Moreover, it allows users to run incompatible applications simultaneously. The software technology is used in an array of applications including banking, stock trading, insurance sales and marketing.
2. Storage virtualization combines multiple hard drives into a single storage device managed by a central console. It simplifies the management of heterogeneous storage devices by placing an abstraction layer between them and the hosts. Storage virtualization provides administrators with a logical view of the storage network. In addition, it minimizes downtime, increases disk utilization and data availability.
3. Virtualizing an operating system is arguably the most common form of virtualization. It involves enabling an operating system to run the applications of numerous users on one computer. Every virtual environment accepts commands from users running different applications provided they are compatible with the same operating system. The service helps companies decrease the amount of physical hardware needed to run their software by reducing the number of actual machines.
4. Hardware virtualization is similar to but less common than operating system virtualization. Rather than placing many software instances in an individual machine, pieces of the device are allocated to fulfill various functions.
5. Virtualizing network functions enables administrators to combine and share resources inside a network with users. The network is split into various channels where each channel has some of the bandwidth of the network. The network makes it easier for administrators to assign resources to users as requested in real time. All users can access the resources of the network from an individual computer. It is designed to improve network agility, speed and scalability.
6. Paravirtualization fuses operating system virtualization with hardware virtualization. In particular, it permits an interface to the virtual machine to vary slightly from the physical hardware. This reduces overhead and boosts system performance by sustaining virtual machines. The technology allows multiple operating systems to run on a single set of hardware by using resources like processors and memory. Nevertheless, paravirtualization is restricted in that the guest operating system has to be fitted to run on top of the virtual machine monitor.
Becoming a virtual business can be a bewildering and arduous process. Companies should consider their process and memory needs, network hardware options and storage trends in choosing which type of virtualization works best for them.