Why server Virtualization is not saving you more and other articles...

It is no secret that many companies have adopted server virtualization over the past few years but there still exist big differences in the use of the technology.  According to ZDNet, a few more small changes in how the technology is used, could see these companies dramatically increase their efficiencies. Read full article here.

HP has introduced new server, PC, printing, services and storage technologies to help smaller businesses with virtualization. These new virtualization bundles could allow solution providers to deliver end-to-end storage, virtualization and remote management capabilities to SMB customers. See the full articles here and here.

And lastly, probably the most affordable virtualization solution for the UK market.
According to Webs Hosting review Memset has unveiled a VM1000 product priced £9.95 per month for 512MB. This might prove to be the cheapest solution for the moment on the UK market.
You can read the full story here.


Benefits and use of virtualization

Benefits and use of virtualization


A recent article Published by Rick Freedman (CEO of Consulting Strategies, Inc.,) on virtualization discusses the benefits and use of virtualization as an enabler of Green IT, challenges of virtualization and also factors to consider when implementing virtualization.

Citing a survey of CIOs he lists the following benefits of virtualization:
  • Cost savings (hardware acquisition, & facilities),
  • Greener IT profile for corporate responsibility,
  • Maintenance simplification,
  • New and improved disaster recovery plans and
  • Ease & speed to provide new systems and applications.

The CIOs surveyed also listed some challenges faced by organization implementing virtualization, namely:
  • Political and organizational challenges,
  • Technical and Integration difficulties, which all impact negatively on the success of virtualization.
However, Freedman proposes an interesting road map which any organization embarking on virtualization should follow. He argues that following such guidelines will enable organizations to reap the benefits of virtualization while avoiding some common pitfalls.

To see the guidelines proposed by Freedman, read the full article here:

Difference between vmware desktop and vmware player

The difference between vmware desktop and vmware player is that the word vmware desktop does not refer to any piece of software in particular, but rather to several applications from VMware which can be used on the desktop including: VMware View, VMware ThinApp, VMware ACE, Vmware workstation, VMware Fusion, VMware player, etc.

On the contrary vmware player is a desktop virtualization software which allows you to run virtual machines. The Virtual machines you can run with vmware player include: VMware Fusion,VMware workstation, Vmware Server, VMware ESX, Microsoft virtual server, virtual machines and Microsoft virtual PC machines .

Benefits of VMware Player:
  • It is free. You can download a free copy from here Download VMware
  • You can run multiple operating systems at the same time on one personal computer
  • When installed, you can easily use it to evaluate virtual appliances on the VMware Virtual Appliances market place.

Benefits of Virtualization

Virtualization, Cloud Computing, Green IT, have all been touted as the next big thing in the world of computing. All for the right reasons, because there are several advantages to be had by implementing virtualization.
This article will discuss the several advantages of virtualization.

Cost Savings – this is one of the major benefits which often cited as a reason for implementing virtualization.
Firstly when you virtualize, you can cut down on computing equipment like the number of servers you employ. The net effect is a drastic reduction in the amount of energy your company uses. This represents a huge cost savings.
Secondly, by reducing the amount of computing equipment, you are eliminating the need for more space for such equipment. Real estate costs can be a significant part of your costs. Therefore when you do not need more space for equipment, you are saving money. Cost savings of between 50 – 70% have been quoted as typical when virtualization is implemented.
Thirdly if you run your IT in-house, you will need to employ people to administer your systems. After virtualization, the number of systems is greatly reduced and therefore your cost of system administration will be significantly cut down.

Simplification of IT – when you virtualize, you simplify your computing, by having for example various applications running on a single server.

Reduce or eliminate need for several upgrades – when you run multiple applications each on their own server, there is the need for you to always upgrade these systems each time there is a new patch for your systems. With virtualization there is no need for you upgrading (if your systems are outsourced) or you will have fewer systems to upgrade.

Improve efficiency and availability of resources - When you virtualize, your computing efficiency is dramatically improved. You use much less energy as a consequence. One clear advantage of virtualization is the reduction of energy consumption. When you use less energy, the amount green gas emitted into the atmosphere is reduced. Virtualization is therefore rightly seen as one tool in the fight against global warming.

Your business is likely to recover more quickly from a disaster (if you were hit by one) when you have virtualized than when you run all your systems in-house.

Strategic advantage – many people nowadays are becoming environmentally aware. As a result more and customers and potential customers are now looking at the green credentials of companies they do business with. If you can present your company as an environmentally friendly company, taking the right actions to protect the environment, this is a plus and can be an advantage to you over your competitors.

To sum up - virtualization will enable better system and hardware usage; it will curb data centre sprawl, reduce your IT administration cost, by reducing the number of physical machines you have to manage, contribute towards the fight against global warming by reducing the amount of energy you use, and give you a strategic advantage over your competitors.

Sun Blade 8000 Modular System Review

Product Name - Sun Blade 8000 Modular System
Company Name - SUN Microsystems
Price - From $ 25,145.00
Features- Runs up to 4 Quad core Opeteron processors/server module.
Up to 20 server modules per rack
Up to 126 GB of Memory per server module i.e. 2.56TB/rack
Up to 192GB/s Input/Output per blade

Review –
Pros: Enables virtualization with just a few servers. It offers the processing equivalent of 10 conventionally racked, four-socket 4U servers.
Less power consumption with its peers.
Cons: Large Footprint, Noisy.

Virtualization Examples

Container virtualization or Operating System Virtualization
You can use container virtualization to offer different operating systems to different users, using a single physical machine.

This is the ideal type of virtualization for web hosting companies.
They can host several different websites on the same physical machine, with each website having its own "container". To each website, they are in total control of the machine, but in reality they are sharing it with other websites.

Examples of companies offering operating system virtualization:
  • SWSoft - virttuzzo
  • Open source operating system project OpenVZ
  • Sun - Solaris Operating System.

Harware Emulation
The emulated hardware environment is called a virtual machine monitor.
The virtualization software (hypervisor) "fools" the guest operating system,
into thinking it has a real hardware environment on which to operate,
by presenting it the virtual environment known as virtual machine monitor (VMM).

Where to get hardware emulation virtualization (hypervisor software):
  • VMware - VMware Server & ESX Server
  • Microsoft - VMware (Supports X86 servers only), Hyper-V,
  • Xen - Open source alternative

Paravitualization Implementation
With a paravirtualization implementation, the virtualization software sits between the guest operating system and the
resources of the physical machine.
The virtualization software controls access to the resources of the physical machine.

Examples:
  • Xen from XenSource (found in Red Hat and Novell distributions).
  • Virtual iron also from Xensource.

Disadvantages of server virtualization

There are three types of server virtualization, namely operating system virtualization, hardware emulation and paravirtualization. Each one of the three has their own disadvantages.

One serious drawback of operating system virtualization is that your choice of operating system is limited depending on the host operating system.

The major disadvantage of hardware emulation is that the hypervisor (virtualization software) hurts performance, and you will often find that applications run slower on virtualized systems.
One other drawback is that since the VMM (virtual machine monitor) acts as an interpreter between the hypervisor and the physical machine, there is need for device drivers to be installed between the hypervisor and the VMM, however you also have to update these drivers from time to time. But an ordinary user is unable to install these devices. This might lead to a situation where some resources may not run on virtualized environment when there are hypervisor drivers for them.

The main disadvantage of paravirtualization is that it is lightweight and needs that the guest operating system be modified so it to interact with paravirtualization Interfaces. This is only possible if you have access to the source code of the OS. This is only possible with open source OSs for example Linux.

Sun Fire X4600 M2 Server Review

Product Name - Sun Fire X4600 M2 Server
Company Name - SUN Microsystems
Price – From $17,395
Features- Can include up to 8 Quad core Opeteron processors in a single chassis,
Up to 256 GB of Memory
4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for multiple network connections
8 Expansion slots for multiple storage connections.

Review -
Pros: Excellent design.
The 256GB memory caters for virtualization in demanding environments, HPC and database applications.
Multiple expansion slots and Ethernet ports avoid storage and network SPOF respectively.

Cons: Reported poor disk performance and
Lack of RAID5 on RAID controller

Requirements of Virtualization- Virtualization Technology.

  • The processor - the primary role of the processor (CPU) in any machine is to direct and control all the activities of the computer.
    The virtualization software must be able to coordinate how different guest operating systems access the resources of the Processor. Most processors to date like the X86 processor were not designed to host several guest operating systems.

  • Memory - The memory stores or holds data for the computer to use.
    Your virtualization software should be able to manipulate the memory spaces efficiently and effectively so that the different operating systems do not overwrite each other's data. Just like the X86 processor, the X86 was not designed for multiple operating systems.
    The virtualization software must also be able to manage the state of each guess operating system.

  • Network - Most computers today in the work place and at home are networked, like being connected to the internet.
    This requires the exchange of information between the network and the computer.
    For a virtualized computer, it is very important that virtualization software ensures that each virtual system receives the correct information or data destined for it.

  • Storage - The fourth virtualization requirement is storage.
    Each virtual guest operating system must have it own data.
    It is also very important that the virtualization software keeps such data separate and isolated from other data.

Desktop virtualization

One type of desktop virtualization is to use your desktop device only to display data while all the processing and storage (applications & data) is done by back-end servers.
Your desktop device could be a traditional PC or a specialized device like SunRay virtual display Client.

To implement this type of desktop virtualization, you need to run a virtual desktop infrastructure Software on the desktops.

There are several virtual desktop infrastructure Software like:
  • VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
  • Sun VDI Software.

Benefits of Implementing this type of Desktop Virtualization:
  • Data is stored in a centralized location for easy management and is less likely to be lost or stolen.
  • Huge amounts of savings from reduced desktop system administration.
  • Reduced IT maintainance, upgrades, and threats from viruses and other malware.

Another type of desktop virtualization is to run a software which enables you install different operating systems on your desktop.

You could have a system running windows and you install this software which enables you run Linux on the same computer.

One practical example of this type of virtualization is to Use the free VMware Player from VMware to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single PC.

Storage vitualization or Data virtualization.

If you use especially web-based digital applications you would have realized the amount of data these applications are generating. It is often impossible to store such data on a single physical server. Also very often many different machines need to have access to that data, leading to congestion. If you store your data on a single physical machine there would be problems would be difficulties with backup and the always a looming possibility that that the server would break down leading to a halt of your business processes.

Because of these reasons, you should think of moving your data to virtualization as well, i.e. implement virtualized storage to avoid data access problems. This would also help you reduce cost and also manage your data more efficiently.

Server Virtualization

There are three types of server virtualization - operating system virtualization, hardware emulation & paravirtualization.

Operating System (OS) Virtualization - also known as "Containers" enables an operating system ("guest") to run on top a "host" operating system. The guest operating system makes the resources of the hardware on which it is installed available to the applications using it.
The applications have no interaction with the host operating system. In fact according to these applications, they are the only one interacting with the hardware.

You can use this type of virtualization (container virtualization) to offer different operating systems to different users, with a single physical machine.

This is the ideal type of virtualization for web hosting companies. They can host several different websites on the same physical machine, with each website having its own "container". To each website, they are in total control of the machine, but in reality they are sharing it with other websites.

One serious drawback of operating system virtualization is that your choice operating system is limited depending on the host operating system.
Example of companies offering operating system virtualization:
  • SWSoft - virttuzzo & the
  • Open source operating system project OpenVZ
  • Sun - Solaris Operating System.

Hardware Emulation
With this type of virtualization, the virtualization software also known as hypervisor serves up an emulated hardware environment for guest operating system to operate on. The emulated hardware environment is called a virtual machine monitor. That means the virtualization software (hypervisor) "fools" the guest operating system, into thinking it has a real hardware environment on which to operate, by presenting it the virtual environment known as virtual machine monitor (VMM).

The hypervisor sits between the VMM and the physical hardware and acts as an interpreter between the two. Each guest OS runs on one VMM.

This implementation implies multiple OS and also different types of Operating software can run on the same machine. For example you can run windows and Linux on the same machine or different versions of windows on the same physical machine.

Software development companies can use this type of virtualization to test their software on different operating systems, without having to buy new machines for each operating system.
You can also use hardware emulation virtualization to move your applications environments unto the same physical machine.

The major disadvantage of hardware emulation is that the hypervisor (virtualization software) hurts performance, and you will often find that applications run slower on virtualized systems.

One other drawback is that since the VMM acts as an interpreter between the hypervisor and the physical machine, there is need for device drivers to be installed between the hypervisor and the VMM, however they is need to update these drivers from time to time. But the users are unable to install these devices. This might lead to a situation where some resources may not run on virtualized environment when there are hypervisor drivers for them.

Where to get hardware emulation virtualization (hypervisor software):
  • VMware - VMware Server & ESX Server,
  • Microsoft - VMware (supports X86 servers only, emphasis on MS OS), Hyper-V,
  • Xen - Open source alternative.

Paravirtualization
With a paravirtualization implementation, the virtualization software sits between the guest operating system and the resources of the physical machine. The virtualization software controls access to the resources of the physical machine.

The main advantage of this implementation regime is that there is less performance overhead used. There is also no need for device drivers like is the case with hardware emulation.

Examples of Paravirtualization:
  • Xen from XenSource (found in Red Hat and Novell distributions)
  • Virtual iron also from Xensource.
You could use any of the three implementations to achieve server virtualization.

Server Virtualization Videos
What is Server Virtualization


VMware ESXi Server Virtualization Walkthrough


Virtualization Technology - How Does Virtualization Work?

To understand how virtualization works, it is better perhaps to look at the different types of virtualization. Each works in a different way and is implemented differently.

There are three different types of virtualization: Server Virtualization, Data or Storage Virtualization and Desktop Virtualization.

Why is Virtualization so Important for Your Business.

Most machines in data centres are running at only between 10 - 15% of their capacity a lot of the time. In other words much of their capacities and other resources (like the electricity they use) are wasted. These machines can do better. By enabling virtualization on these machines, they would be made to support more than one system, thus making better use of more of their resources.

To satisfy the computing needs of your company, you need to add more computing resources – desktop computers, servers, etc. You also need to store data and this might mean putting in separate data servers. This hardware takes up space. We all know that space can be a very expensive commodity. By introducing virtualization, whereby you host several systems on a single physical server, you are effectively reducing the need for more space.

If your company is running a data center, you would realize that their cost can run into millions of dollars. By eliminating the need to build a data center yourself with virtualization, you would be making some serious cost savings.

More and more people today are increasingly becoming environmentally aware. As a result they are looking at the green credentials of companies they buy from or want to do business with. So your customers or potential customers are watching you!
Some of the ways your company can show potential customers that you care about the environment is to be less energy dependant by cutting down the amount of energy you consume. One key area where you can cut down on energy consumption is with your IT & computing equipment, especially your servers. By adopting virtualization, you would be reducing the number of physical servers you run and thereby the amount of energy consumed.

This represents a double advantage - you save significant amounts of money on energy costs and you gain strategic advantage when your potential customers know you are taking concrete steps to protect the environment.

If you run your IT in-house you are probably aware of the need to have full time staff on your payroll administering your systems. The cost of hiring and keeping a system administrator is significant. When you implement virtualization, the numbers of machines you have to take care of reduce or may be eliminated altogether. Hence you cut the cost necessary for system administration.

What is Virtualization?

what is virtualization


Let me start by defining what virtualization is. Virtualization is a software technology which enables one single computer to run several (sometimes different) virtual guest operating systems (OS).

Essentially, virtualization can enable you to run more than one environment on the same hardware. For example, with virtualization you can run a windows operating system (like XP) and a Linux Operating system (like Ubuntu) on the same computer.

By implementing virtualization, you let different operating systems and applications share the resources of one computer.

This technology is necessary because most of today’s computers (X86 Computers) were designed to run one operating system on one physical machine. With this mode of operation, the resources of each machine are underutilized most of the time.

What virtualization does in practice is that it separates a user from the kind of hardware they are using. For example you could be running windows on a Mac platform or you could be running a Linux OS on your windows personal computer (PC).

It is important to note that virtualization is not a server-only technology; in fact virtualization can be applied throughout your business. Starting from the desktop, you can “virtualize” nearly all aspects of your IT infrastructure.

What is being claimed at the moment is that virtualization is set to dramatically change the way in which we compute.

There are different types of virtualization:
Hope this answered the question; What is Virtualization?

If not, then here are three videos to further clarify you on the meaning of virtualization.

What is Virtualization videos:

What is Virtualization




Virtualization 101




What is Virtualization?



Kontera

Virtualization Videos

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