With the dawn of the cloud age, virtualization has become an integral element for the information technology industry. This technology has the ability to curtail costs associated with hardware and utility bills while increasing the efficiency of the overall process. Virtualization can change the whole IT infrastructure of an organization within a short span of time.
What is Virtualization?
It is the process by which a physical server can run multiple virtual environments in order to run different programs with no interference of any kind between them. The virtual environment can either be a single instance or combo of multiple environments like an operating system, storage devices, network servers, application servers and computing environments, etc.
Benefits of Virtualization
There are many benefits associated with this amazing technology which range from reduction of costs related to capital and operational expenditures; risk minimization and better mitigation plans; effective and efficient utilization of existing resources; improved accessibility and employee productivity, and freedom from any type of vendor lock-in.
Numerous benefits are provided by virtualization which includes reduction in costs, efficient utilization of resources, better accessibility and minimization of risk among others.
Types of Virtualization
There are mainly 7 types of virtualization that differ depending on the type of element they are used on and each has a unique effect on the security of the network. Given below are brief descriptions of these 7 virtualization types:
- Operating System Virtualization
OS virtualization is the most commonly used virtualization type. Such an OS is referred to as a virtual machine as it includes putting an instance of an operating system or multiple instances on a physical machine. This reduces the cost of physical hardware by reducing the number of physical machines as multiple virtual machines can run on a single server simultaneously.
- Server Virtualization
Server virtualization has been extensively used in the IT industry since the advent of this technology. It is also known as the ‘advanced load balancing’ and ‘application server virtualization’. In this type, the IT departments divide the workload of applications and servers by spreading them across multiple servers and across applications, respectively. This strengthens the network security and also makes management of applications and servers really easy.
- Application Virtualization
A common misconception is that application server virtualization and application virtualization is the same thing which they are not. In application virtualization, applications are stored on a central server while using the RAM and CPU of computers with the help of cloud-based software.
- Administrative Virtualization
The least known type of virtualization is the administrative virtualization. It is used mainly in data centers for their management. With the help of user and group policies, segmented admin roles are created. Each role has different permission sets i.e. their access can be limited to specific servers, applications and infrastructure, etc.
- Network Virtualization
Network virtualization occurs when a central virtual network is created by combining the software and hardware resources of the network along with its functionalities. Its components include firewalls, switches, NICs, storage devices, VMs, VLAN tags and routing tables, etc.
- Hardware Virtualization
Hardware virtualization is a rare type of virtualization which is quite similar to the operating system virtualization in concept. The only difference between OS and hardware virtualization is that in the former, we have multiple virtual machines running on a single physical machine while in the latter; a single machine has its different parts partitioned in order to perform certain tasks.
- Storage Virtualization
In this virtualization type, a virtual storage system is created for the management of an array of servers. This virtualization is wonderful technology that is being used by companies all over the world. They use virtual storage area network, because it is secure, efficient and comes with a myriad of cost-related advantages thanks to its ability to utilize a minimum amount of physical resources.