Server virtualization is a software architecture that enables many operating systems to function as guests on a server host. This technology is not new. In fact, companies such as IBM and GE promoted the approach half a century ago.
Hypervisors, a type of virtualization software, hold a guest version of the OS and imitate hardware resources. This software uses hypervisors to enable multiple server models to operate on a single computer.
This article will help you understand how server virtualization works, introduces types and operating methods, and help you decide if your business needs this technology.
What is Server Virtualization?
The practice of dividing a single server into numerous tiny, isolated virtual servers is known as server virtualization. This approach does not necessitate the purchase of new or additional servers; instead, virtualization software or hardware separates the existing server into numerous isolated virtual servers. Each of these servers may function independently.
Servers are pieces of software that host data and applications while also giving functionality to other programs. This device handles requests and sends data to other computers on a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN) (WAN). Servers are frequently quite powerful, capable of handling complicated tasks with ease.
A single server is often dedicated to a particular application or task and can only run one operating system (OS). Since most programs do not perform well together on a single server, a significant amount of a server’s processing power is wasted.
However, it is divided into numerous virtual servers when it is virtualized. Each can run a different operating system and application in a different environment. As a result, less processing power is squandered.
Servers require room, upkeep and must be maintained in a cool, dust-free environment. With hardware expenses, maintenance charges, and cooling costs, this may quickly add up to be a considerable expenditure for businesses.
Types of Server virtualization
Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM)
Also known as a hypervisor. It is a software layer between the Operating System (OS) and the hardware. VMM provides the services and functionality required for the seamless operation of several operating systems. VMM is beneficial in:
- Detecting traps
- Reacting to privileged CPU instructions
- Managing hardware request queuing, dispatching, and returning.
You can install a host Operating System (OS) on top of the VMM to manage and control the virtual servers.
Para Server Virtualization
It is a Hypervisor-based method, and it handles a large portion of the emulation and trapping overhead in Server Virtualization. Before you install it into the virtual machine, the guest Operating System (OS) is tweaked and recompiled.
The updated guest Operating System (OS) directly interacts with the hypervisor, improving speed and eliminating emulation overhead.
Full Server Virtualization
It closely resembles para server virtualization. The hypervisor intercepts the machine actions used by the operating system to execute I/O or change the system status.
Following trapping, these processes are mimicked in software. The status codes given are close to whether the original hardware may deliver, which is why an unmodified Operating System (OS) can operate on top of the hypervisor.
This type is identical to Full Virtualization and paravirtualization when it comes to functionality. However, it requires hardware support.
To execute an unmodified Operating System (OS), the hardware support for Virtualization would be utilized to manage:
- Hardware access requests
- Privileged and protected activities
- Communication with the virtual system
Kernel level VirtualizationThis type does not need a hypervisor. Instead, kernel-level Virtualization runs a different Linux kernel version, which views the associated VM as a user-space process on the physical host. This allows several VM to operate on a single host.
Does your Business need Virtualization Technology?
Thanks to its efficiency, server virtualization can be an essential element in your business. Virtualization reduces the number of physical servers, simplifies management, and reduces costs.
Reasons to consider Virtualization.
Companies and organizations engage in server virtualization for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are purely financial, while others are more technical:
Your business will benefit from a powerful performance without the need to increase the number of servers. With this method, each physical server may now host three virtual machines (VMs), each of which runs an application. As a result, the firm would only need four physical servers to perform the same twelve workloads.
Streamline your infrastructure:
The number of racks and cables in the data center decreases considerably as the number of servers drops. Deployments and troubleshooting are facilitated as a result of this too. As a result, the company may achieve the same computing objectives with a fraction of the space, power, and cooling necessary for the physical server complement.
Improve your business management:
Virtualization centralizes resource management and VM instance generation. In addition, modern Virtualization provides many tools and capabilities that allow IT managers, to manage and monitor the virtualized environment.
Savings on energy
Server virtualization is by definition “green.” This is because servers require energy not only to power themselves but also to cool them. Server virtualization lowers energy expenses since it minimizes the number of servers needed.
Top Rated Server Virtualization Products
These products received a Top Rated designation due to their high levels of customer satisfaction.
- Scale Computing HC39.4291 ratings
- Nutanix AOS8.9173 ratings
- Oracle VM VirtualBox8.7142 ratings
Things to consider before Virtualization
Although server virtualization is praised for its flexibility, increased productivity, and more effective resource allocation, the technology is not without flaws.
Costs of installation and licensing
Saving money is one of the advantages of server virtualization. These savings are mostly gained through fewer hardware purchases. However, overall spending is anticipated to climb due to higher costs for hypervisors on the software side.
Even if the virtualization software is a free source or comes with the server Operating System (OS), additional support and maintenance costs may be incurred. In addition, new management tools tailored to the virtualized environment are necessary.
New operating system licenses will be necessary because Virtualization often increases the total number of servers in operation.
Backing up active data becomes more difficult in a virtualized environment due to the increased number of servers, applications, and data storage to manage.
Since virtual servers are quickly spun up and down, the backup program must confirm that all essential business data is replicated to backup media.
Virtualization features are available in most modern backup solutions, but you must ensure that they are compatible with your infrastructure. Likewise, it may take longer to back up the added data with more active servers.
Single point of failure
One of the most tangible benefits of Virtualization is operating several servers on a single piece of hardware, but it also provides a single point of failure.
If the host server fails, a major portion of the data center’s activities is disrupted. The storage system that supports the virtual servers also has a single point of failure. If numerous VMs use the same RAID array and it fails, data may be lost in addition to service disruption. Clustering virtual and physical servers may be sufficient to overcome a hardware failure.
Despite its flaws, many businesses are investing in server virtualization. The demand for large data centers may diminish as server virtualization technology progresses.
Server power usage and heat production might also be reduced, making server utilization not only financially appealing but also environmentally friendly.
It is not an exaggeration to suggest that virtual servers can completely transform the computer industry. We’ll simply have to wait and see what happens.
Are you considering server virtualization for your business? Contact DigitalCook in Saudi Arabia to see how Virtualization can boost your company’s productivity while lowering its technological expenses.