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An overview of types of virtualization in cloud computing

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“Server consolidation is the most obvious, long-standing use case, but virtualization is like a Swiss army knife. You can use it in a number of different situations.” – Raghu Raghuram

With time, things have changed a lot. The emergence of innovative technologies has completely changed the IT landscape. 

Also Read: What is Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) in India?

Virtualization is one of these innovative technologies that was invented somewhere around 1960s by the IBM. It has since its inception, helped transform the way people compute.

“Acronis is directly responsible for saving our company 1200 hours per year for IT operations staff in backup and recovery workflows.” CIO, high performance IT company.
Read details in a report by Forrester.
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What is server virtualization?

We can define Virtualization as a technology that provides the capability to logically separate the physical resources of a server and use them as different isolated machines, called Virtual Machines.

The CPU becomes many virtual CPUs, and the same becomes true for RAMs and Hard Disks.

Also Read: 12 cybersecurity measures to instantly protect your business data

Previously, there were computers that ran an Operating System (OS) and application on top of the OS, but now, with the help of virtualization software like Hypervisor, one can create multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) on a single computer and install OS on them and run all of them at the same time.

Why do we need virtualization

What are the advantages and disadvantages of virtualization?

There are many benefits of Virtualization, like it optimizes hardware resource utilization, saves energy and costs and makes it possible to run multiple applications and various operating systems on the same SERVER at the same time. It increases the utilization, efficiency, and flexibility of existing computer hardware.

  • Provides the ability to manage resources effectively.
  • Increases efficiency of IT operations.
  • Provides for easier backup and disaster recovery.
  • Increases cost savings with reduced hardware expenditure.

Disadvantages of virtualization are almost negligible when compared to the multiple advantages it offers.

  • Software licensing costs.
  • The necessity to train IT, staff, in virtualization.

What are the different types of virtualization in cloud computing?

As mentioned above, a software makes virtualization possible. This software is known as a Hypervisor, also known as a virtualization manager. It sits between the hardware and the operating system and assigns the amount of access that the applications and operating systems have with the processor and other hardware resources.

type of virtualizations

Now that you have understood what is virtualization, let’s understand how virtualization works by studying different virtualization techniques in cloud computing:

Virtualization in cloud computing

Let’s take them one by one.

Hardware/Server Virtualization

Let’s understand what is hardware virtualization in cloud computing and see its types. It is the most common type of virtualization and it provides advantages like optimum hardware utilization and application uptime.

The basic idea is to combine many small physical servers into one large physical server so that the processor can be used more effectively. The operating system that is running on a physical server gets converted into a well-defined OS that runs on the virtual machine.

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The hypervisor controls the processor, memory, and other components by allowing the different OS to run on the same machine without the need for source code.

Hardware virtualization is further subdivided into the following types:

  • Full Virtualization – In it, the complete simulation of the actual hardware takes place to allow the software to run an unmodified guest OS.
  • Para Virtualization – In this type of virtualization, software unmodified runs in modified OS as a separate system.
  • Partial Virtualization – In this type of hardware virtualization, the software may need modification to run.

Network Virtualization

Let’s see how is network virtualization used in cloud computing. It refers to the management and monitoring of a computer network as a single managerial entity from a single software-based administrator’s console.

Also Read: Rethinking data security: 5 ways encryption can help to protect your data

It is intended to allow network optimization of data transfer rates, scalability, reliability, flexibility, and security. It also automates many network administrative tasks. Network virtualization is specifically useful for networks that experience a huge, rapid, and unpredictable traffic increase.

The intended result of network virtualization provides improved network productivity and efficiency.

Two categories:

  • Internal: Provide network-like functionality to a single system.
  • External: Combine many networks or parts of networks into a virtual unit.

Storage Virtualization

In this type of virtualization, multiple network storage resources are present as a single storage device for easier and more efficient management of these resources. It provides various advantages as follows:

  • Improved storage management in a heterogeneous IT environment
  • Easy updates, better availability
  • Reduced downtime
  • Better storage utilization
  • Automated management

In general, there are two types of storage virtualization:

  • Block- It works before the file system exists. It replaces controllers and takes over at the disk level.
  • File- The server that uses the storage must have software installed on it in order to enable file-level usage.

Memory Virtualization

It introduces a way to decouple memory from the server to provide a shared, distributed or networked function.

It enhances performance by providing greater memory capacity without any addition to the main memory. That’s why a portion of the disk drive serves as an extension of the main memory.

Implementations –

  • Application-level integration – Applications running on connected computers directly connect to the memory pool through an API or the file system.
    application-level
  • Operating System-Level Integration – The operating system first connects to the memory pool and makes that pooled memory available to applications.
    operating-system

Software Virtualization

It provides the ability to the main computer to run and create one or more virtual environments. It is used to enable a complete computer system in order to allow a guest OS to run.

For instance letting Linux run as a guest that is natively running a Microsoft Windows OS (or vice versa, running Windows as a guest on Linux).

Types:

  • Operating system
  • Application virtualization
  • Service virtualization

Data Virtualization

Without any technical details, you can easily manipulate data and know how it is formatted or where it is physically located. It decreases the data errors and workload.

Desktop virtualization

It provides work convenience and security. As one can access remotely, you are able to work from any location and on any PC. It provides a lot of flexibility for employees to work from home or on the go.

It also protects confidential data from being lost or stolen by keeping it safe on central servers.

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Conclusion

Virtualization in the cloud provides an easy way to set up new virtual servers, so you don’t have to manage a lot of them.

Keeping track of where is everything – and how your physical resources are used for virtual resources – is vital, so shop for solutions that have easy-to-use tools that help you measure and monitor usage.

Virtualization isn’t a magic bullet for all. But in most cases, the productivity, efficiency, security and cost advantages outweigh any issues, and thus, virtualization is continuously gaining popularity.

“Before the Acronis implementation, there was a huge risk that malware could take down our company. Now, with Acronis, I can say that we’ve done everything possible to protect our data from an attack.” CIO, high performance manufacturing company.
Read details in a report by Forrester.
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About author
A strategic thinker, Bhupender is an IT pro and is into IT for over a decade. He leverages his expertise to explain complex technical queries in a simple & easy manner and discusses latest emerging trends in IT & IT security in his blogs.
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