What is Virtualization Technology?

Virtualization is the practice of creating a virtual version of a technology device or resource such as a computer, server, network, operating system, etc.

A few examples of virtualization technology include:

  • Server virtualization
  • Network function virtualization
  • Storage virtualization
  • Desktop virtualization
  • Containerization
  • Data center virtualization

The goal of virtualization is to help an organization improve its operational performance and efficiency by consolidating the amount of IT equipment it has. This allows an organization to make better use of its existing technology resources and centralize administrative tasks.


Why Companies Need Virtualization

Over the years as organizations have added ever more technologies and applications, their IT infrastructures have grown and become increasingly more complicated.

This has led to inefficiencies such as multiple, overlapping systems performing similar functions, some technologies being underutilized and numerous technology siloes. The amount of complexity has also made it difficult and expensive for companies to manage and maintain their technology infrastructure, and gain the visibility into and control over the IT environments they need to support their business.

To overcome these challenges, many organizations are using virtualization technology to simplify their IT infrastructure and gain the visibility and control they need.


How Virtualization Technology Works

A piece of software called a hypervisor or virtual machine manager (VMM) creates an abstraction layer between a physical device or system and its virtual counterpart(s). It then divides the physical resources up, as needed, and distributes them across multiple virtual environments and users.

This allows an organization to maximize the use of its existing hardware, increase its security, agility, and scalability, and achieve a greater return on its technology investments.


Sample Use Cases

A few examples of how organizations use virtualization technology include:

  1. Most organizations use server virtualization to run multiple applications on a single server instead of relying on the legacy and more expensive “one server, one application” model.
  2. An organization may use desktop virtualization to create a virtual machine that mirrors a real computer in order to allow users to securely access their workspace from anywhere.
  3. An organization may use network function virtualization to embed firewalls, load balancers, WiFi controllers, and other network functions wherever they are needed – no separate device required.
  4. An organization may use storage virtualization to pool existing storage resources into a single logical system, available to all required users and applications.



Some of the benefits of using virtualization technology can include:

  • Reduces costs, such as for hardware, maintenance, physical space, and energy/power consumption.
  • Streamlines infrastructure management and maintenance.
  • Greatly increase efficiency, availability, productivity, and disaster recovery.
  • Allows for more flexibility and scalability as a business grows.
  • Provide more visibility and control over their technology infrastructure.
  • Enables IT teams to quickly make updates or changes to an application or operating system without disrupting end users.

That said, because of all the ways virtualization can potentially impact an organization’s technology architecture and the fact that some technologies are better to virtualize than others, deploying virtualization technology isn’t something that should be done on the fly. Instead, it requires careful planning and advanced expertise to set up and implement correctly. That way, an organization can be sure whatever virtualization technology it chooses to use will support its business needs both now and in the future.

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