How To Virtualize Your Company’s It
When discussing virtualization in a computing environment, we refer to creating a virtual version of a physical machine by applying specific virtualization software.
In short, the software allows us to simulate the existence of the technological resource that we want to virtualize. This can refer to server virtualization, hardware virtualization, network virtualization, or a virtual desktop.
Suppose you need clarification on whether virtualizing your company’s IT is appropriate in this article. In that case, we will tell you what it consists of, its main advantages, and what types of virtualization you can implement.
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What does virtualization of computing in the company consist of?
Virtualizing your company’s IT allows you to establish multiple simulated environments or dedicated resources from a single physical hardware system.
Thus, virtualization software connects directly to the computer hardware and divides a system into separate environments, that is, virtual machines.
The physical hardware where the virtualization software is installed is what we know as a server or host, and the virtual machines are known as guests.
Guests use the host’s computing resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, so these capabilities can be easily redistributed.
With virtualizing your company’s IT, you can significantly reduce maintenance costs and operate more efficiently.
In many companies, most servers are underused, so virtualization allows you to host several virtual machines and make their capacity profitable.
Until the 1990s, virtualization of computing environments was mainly applied to large companies. But today, its advantages are also affordable for medium and small companies. This allows them to offer their employees access to the company’s computing environment at any time and from any place and device, facilitating teleworking.
To know if computer virtualization would be appropriate for your company, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Does the server you currently have have enough capacity?
- Does your company’s network infrastructure meet users’ bandwidth requirements?
- Are you contemplating an equipment update in the short term?
- Do you have enough storage capacity?
If most answers are yes, virtualization could help you reduce investment and maintenance costs.
Advantages of virtualizing computing in your company
With the virtualization of your company’s computing, you ensure that virtual servers and desktops can host numerous operating systems and applications in remote areas.In addition to energy savings and more efficient use of resources, you gain accessibility, better desktop management, expanded computer security, and greater disaster recovery guarantees.
Logically, its implementation also entails some drawbacks, such as the cost of the initial investment in both hardware and software, but also in licenses, in addition to the fact that this type of implementation is associated with the logical learning curve of the workers who will have to be trained to work in a virtualized environment.
However, the benefits you will obtain outweigh the disadvantages. So that you can make your own assessment, we review the main advantages your company will obtain with the virtualization of its computing.
More efficient infrastructure
Virtualization maximizes the capacity offered by servers so that you ensure that the investment you have made in hardware is offering you its full potential.
Faster deployment of updates
One of the advantages that IT managers value most about virtualization is the efficiency in installation and hardware and software updates.
These computing environments are easy to keep up to date and manage, offering redundancy guarantees.
With a virtual infrastructure, your company ensures that its equipment does not become obsolete, and this speed in updates is beneficial for companies that need to react quickly to new challenges.
Improved security and disaster recovery assurance
With the virtualization of your company’s IT, you can guarantee a backup copy in a virtual environment, accelerating the recovery of systems more quickly and easily in the event of a disaster.
The information is backed up quickly, and the company always has the possibility of replication available, representing the enormous advantage of having an emergency exit in the event of a catastrophe or attack.
Savings in time and maintenance costs
On the other hand, the company will notice a significant time-saving in daily routines, with the consequent economic savings that this entails:
- Instant remote access to files and applications.
- Less downtime and fewer unplanned interruptions.
- Less time spent supporting local teams.
- Energy saving
Virtualization allows you to use fewer servers, and consequently, energy consumption is considerably reduced.
Types of virtualization
Now that you know the advantages of virtualization in your company, let’s review the main types you can adopt.
Software storage virtualization or SDS, Software Defined Storage, allows access to all storage devices installed on individual servers or independent storage units as if they were a single device, allowing their centralization.
This makes the most of all the storage available on the network and improves performance and efficiency.
Desktop virtualization stores virtual machine desktops on a central server and broadcasts them to users who log on to remote devices.
Likewise, this virtualization allows the user to change operating systems without having to make any changes to their computer, which means a significant cost reduction and makes it easier for users to work from any device and location.
Software is used for virtualization so the administrator can manage the network from a single console.
This software, which runs on a hypervisor or virtual machine monitor, can modify and control elements such as routers, switches, or connections without physically touching these elements, simplifying network management and making it easier to configure and manage.
Some of the applications of this type of virtualization are:
- Virtualize the hardware that controls the routing of network traffic, also called software-defined networking or SDN.
- Virtualize network or NFV functions, for example, a firewall, load balancer, or traffic analyzer.
Application virtualization runs the application software without installing it directly on the user’s operating system, eliminating any complications due to hardware incompatibility. This simulation process is achieved thanks to a virtualization layer that is inserted between the application and the operating system. This intermediate layer executes the subsets of the application virtually without affecting the terminal operating system.
Server virtualization consists of virtualizing all the servers the company uses on a single physical device with the consequent savings in equipment investment, energy consumption, and maintenance.
This type of virtualization is the technology used as the basis for cloud computing, which allows remote access to software, file storage, and data processing over the Internet.
Server virtualization thus allows the development of services such as:
- IaaS, cloud infrastructure services: is a form of cloud computing that offers end users a virtualized server, storage, and network resources over the Internet.
- PaaS is a platform as a service: a development environment in the cloud that offers customers everything from databases to more complex and personalized applications.
- SaaS, software as a service: thanks to this service, companies connect to cloud applications over the Internet, as is the case, for example, with email or office tools.
Virtualization software for small and medium businesses
As mentioned a few years ago, virtualization was a thing for large companies. However, today, more and more small and medium-sized companies can access the benefits of this technology thanks to virtualization software that facilitates its implementation in small businesses.
These are some types of software that you can consider if you are considering computer virtualization in your company.
- VMware: The virtualization system most used by companies today is VMware. Allows you to virtualize any Windows or Linux operating system easily.
- Citrix XenServer: It is another of the applications preferred by companies because it is based on open source and has a basic free version.
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server: Hyper-V offers the possibility of migrating virtual machines from one physical server to another without affecting the service to users.
- VirtualBox: Its main advantage is its ease of use thanks to the Guest Additions functionality.
- KVM: This virtualization software is free. It is also based on open source and allows you to run virtual machines using disk images containing unmodified operating systems.
As we have seen, virtualization is a powerful tool that allows you to reduce costs, provide a faster response to development requirements, and increase information security.