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Virtualization – What is vitualization and do I need it?

While some will roll their eyes and say this is nothing new, virtualization is certainly one of the buzz words in the IT industry right now.

So what is virtualization? Well in basic terms it’s a way to make a better use of your hardware investment. You’ve just spent x thousand pounds on a shiny new server with enough computing power to take us to Mars and back. So what are you going to do with it? Maybe use it to share a few files? Publish some webpage for your intranet, or maybe run a database or two. The world’s your oyster, but the thing is a lot of the time, your investment is sat twiddling its electronic thumbs, and if you want to do more than one of these things usually you have to just buy another box to run it.

So here’s where all the hype actually starts to save you some money. Just think if you could take each of your separate servers and run them on the same physical box soaking up some of that spare computing power, but with each one still running, as far as your users are concerned, as they do now on separate boxes. Well you can, it isn’t hype and you’ve been able to do it for a while. The only thing that’s really changed is that now mainstream computer hardware lends itself to the technology – (noticed all the TV ads for dual and quad core CPUs?), and that the software is reaching a level of maturity that you can trust it not to fall over every five minutes. The concept really has been round for years though, IBM mainframe ops will be familiar with VM/ESA and a quick Google search reveals roots dating back in the 1960s.

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