Predominantly there are 4 main types of virtualisation used today (although there is some debate surrounding this) these are server, desktop, application and storage virtualisation. Each will be looked at in more detail below.
In modern business server virtualisation has become not only popular terminology but also one of the most useful resources available. At a time where companies and data centres were becoming overloaded with physical equipment, server virtualisation created a valuable solution by allowing multiple processes to be carried out on one machine instead of the situation in the past where one process meant one server.
This sharing of server resources offers significant cost savings, frees up server resources and allows for greater flexibility when it comes to server movement and because of the reduced reliance upon single machines, better recovery and resistance to disasters.
This is likely to be the type of virtualisation most people have experience with; essentially it runs an additional operating system on a standard desktop operating system. Desktop virtualisation is regularly used in businesses as it allows the IT team to administrate the company’s computers and is also easy for users to utilise the system.
Typically, this form of virtualisation is carried out remotely, from a data centre, or locally, using resources within the local network.
Application virtualisation is similar to the desktop variety as it is presenting an interface to the user that is in addition to the standard operating system. However, rather than providing the user with an entire desktop, this form of virtualisation is limited to that application alone, preventing users from accessing any other elements. These can either be controlled locally or remotely.
Storage virtualisation is the separation of physical storage space into storage partitions, increasing the flexibility of storage resources and easing management. Normally storage virtualisation can be approached as either direct attached storage, network attached storage or as a storage area network.
These are just 4 of the most common types of virtualisation; there are many ways to approach such processes and also myriad uses of virtual resources above and beyond those discussed in this post.