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Practical uses of virtualization

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Virtualization in simple terms is using one system type to perform the operations usually dependent on another. For example, A Ubuntu OS running VMware can run multiple operating systems without the need for multiple systems. The most obvious use of this is to test apps and portability when developing new software, but many practical uses are not immediately apparent.

Big Names in Virtualization

Microsoft has its own virtualization software, Hyper-V that enables system admins who are familiar with Linux servers, to utilise up to 64 processors in a virtual Linux host while running on a Windows Server Setup. Although it takes some considerable set up to make use of virtualization on Dell hardware with 64 processors, the practical uses are more in demand than you might think. Everything from Google Apps and Amazon EC2 through to Oracle’s Solaris Zones use virtualization in one way or another.

The use of virtual machines for end users has only recently become popular, but developers and security professionals have used them for many years.  Even websites are tested on virtual servers such as Xampp Apache Server in mainstream software like Dreamweaver before deployment to the real thing.  Security specialists have used penetration software, some of which are packaged with specialist operating systems in order to verify the security of networks. None of which, would be practical or possible from a machine with a single operating system.

Migration without Data Loss Prevention

Virtual machines are independent from hardware, so the need to go through extensive backups and downtime when the time comes to upgrade are simply not an issue. Backups and reinstalls are also much easier because a virtual machine is stored on your main operating system’s data storage as a single disk image. Any loss or damage requires only a simple copy of the image to bring systems back online.

Efficiency is a Key Benefit

One of the most important uses for virtualization is the reduction of unused resources. Virtual machines can run multiple operating systems simultaneously rather than house multiple servers that are not used to their capacity. Reduced power consumption, lower capital expenditure and maximising use of space are all benefits that any business would welcome.

Staff Training and Development

The lack of risk from damage caused by an unfamiliar system admin is greatly reduced by virtualization. Not every administrator is familiar with specific operating systems, especially if they lack experience in a workplace environment and training on a virtual machine will remove the need for one-on-one supervision as the learner gets to grips with new software.

There are many more reasons why virtualization and VMware is becoming more and more popular, but the current trend is for web-based apps to utilise some form of virtual machine. The result is that we can expect many developments in the next few years where virtualization plays an integral part.

Being part of the Dell team, I know we have a great range of virtualization options available, which can be found on our site. Visit and browse today!

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