lewis hamilton at October 14, 2021 at 3:02am PDT

What is virtualization?

Historically, IT departments used multiple physical servers, each with one primary function—for instance, a mail server dedicated solely to handling outgoing and incoming emails. Buying a physical server meant you also had to choose the appropriate CPU and RAM to go along with it. Often, organizations purchased too much or too little of these resources, which meant the server was oversubscribed (underused) much of the time or it was undersubscribed, and therefore less reliable than it should be. It was also costly for such organizations, especially for growing companies, to continually purchase new servers, as they require a lot of energy to run and maintain. Scaling up to meet additional business requirements is an expensive proposition; housing hundreds of servers expanded a company’s footprint to such a degree that, for many organizations, it presented a challenge that was hard to surmount. That was the case up until 18 to 20 years ago when the first virtualization technologies were introduced. Virtualization technology allowed a single physical server to be “sliced and diced” into individual virtual machines (VMs), which meant that only one server was available for multiple functions. So if you have a 16 CPU physical server with 128 gigs of RAM, you could parse out those computing resources and assign them to various workloads.

Virtualization technology made it possible to scale without the huge footprint required by multiple physical servers. Workloads could be balanced more intelligently because virtualization made it easy to reallocate resources between Hyper V server hosting. It’s worth mentioning that the term virtualization is often confused with cloud computing, but they’re actually two different concepts. Both have to do with shared computing resources, which may be where some of the confusion occurs. That said, virtualization refers to the manipulation of a server so it can be shared by multiple operating systems. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is the sharing of computing resources delivered as a service via the Internet. Essentially, virtualization makes cloud computing possible. Enterprises often use both tactics to gain benefits in terms of cost, resource usage, and scaling.

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