Over the last decade virtualization has become a household term in the IT realm. However, what is less understood is how broad the term really is. Virtualization software can be used for a number of purposes. Server consolidation (running multiple logical servers on a single physical machine) is a popular way to save money on hardware costs and make backup and administration easier, and that’s what we’re primarily focused on in this article. However, other uses include:
- Desktop virtualization, for running client operating systems in a VM for training purposes or for support of legacy software or hardware.
- Virtual testing environments, which provide a cost-effective way to test new software, patches, etc., before rolling them out on your production network.
- Presentation virtualization, by which you can run an application in one location and control it from another, with processing being done on a server and only graphics and end-user I/O handled at the client end.
- Application virtualization, which separates the application configuration layer from the operating system so that applications can be run on client machines without being installed.
- Storage virtualization, whereby a SAN solution is used to provide storage for virtual servers, rather than depending on the hard disks in the physical server.