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Virtualization 101

Virtualization 101

What is Virtualization?

Many of today’s computers can only run a single Operating System and application, making for an inefficient system. With virtualization, you can have multiple “virtual machines” on a single server, meaning fewer servers and lower energy and maintenance costs.

To understand what virtualization is, we need to know what a non-virtualized system looks like:

Non-virtualized System

Non-virtualization System

Example of a non-virtualized system. The hardware, OS and applications are all one and can only run one system.

In a non-virtualized system, hardware (i.e. a computer) traditionally comes with a specific Operating System (OS) and applications. If you needed to replace the hardware, you would also lose the OS and applications, requiring you to have to replace the whole system.

Virtualization is the use of a virtual computer, rather than a physical one. You can run multiple instances of these virtual machines (VM) on one physical computer or server. This process of separating the operating system and the physical hardware allows you to replace the hardware without having to replace the OS or any of the applications. With virtualization, you can also run multiple operating systems all at the same time.

There are two types of virtualization. The first is “hosted” and the other is “bare metal”. Let’s go over hosted virtualization.

Hosted virtualization System

Hosted virtualization system allows you to install software (hypervisor) to access virtual machines. You run multiple instances of VMs independently alongside the OS and applications simultaneously.

Hosted Virtualization

Hosted virtualization introduces a “hypervisor” application (e.g. VMware Workstation or VMware Server). The hypervisor application allows you to connect to have multiple instances of a “Guest” OS while also having the original OS and independent applications all running on the same hardware.

You can run as many Guests as you like and they will run independently from the Host OS and applications.

Server virtualization System

Server/Bare Metal virtualization system replaces the OS and uses the hypervisor to run multiple VMs on your hardware.

Server Virtualization (aka Bare Metal Virtualization)

The other type of virtualization called “server” or “bare metal” virtualization. The hypervisor replaces the host OS completely and manages the host hardware and resources. The hypervisor runs directly on hardware without need of an underlying OS. This allows you to change the hardware without replacing an OS or applications.

Virtualization will allow your company to add new VMs without needing to buy new hardware or other physical devices recurrently. This gives you the ability to extend the life of your computer systems.

If you want to find out more about virtualization and if it is right for your system please leave a comment below or contact Buckles-Smith and we will put you in touch with the appropriate technical specialist.

Buckles-Smith is an electrical distributor with multiple stocking locations throughout Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact us today for any questions you may have and we'll help you out.

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Posted: Jan 30, 2014,
Categories: Automation Systems,
Comments: 0,
Author: Dave MacLeod
Dave MacLeod

Dave MacLeodDave MacLeod

When it comes to experience and expertise, Dave is the leading Automation Application Engineers in Northern California. Dave’s Allen Bradley product expertise covers PLC’s, Process Controllers, HMI’s, Networks, and Industrial Computers and Software.

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