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Server virtualization is used to mask server resources from server users. This can include the number and identity of operating systems, processors, and individual physical servers.

Server Virtualization Definition

Server virtualization is the process of dividing a physical server into multiple unique and isolated virtual servers by means of a software application. Each virtual server can run its own operating systems independently.

Why Server Virtualization?

Server virtualization is a cost-effective way to provide web hosting services and effectively utilize existing resources in IT infrastructure. Without server virtualization, servers only use a small part of their processing power. This results in servers sitting idle because the workload is distributed to only a portion of the network’s servers. Data centers become overcrowded with underutilized servers, causing a waste of resources and power.

By having each physical server divided into multiple virtual servers, server virtualization allows each virtual server to act like a unique physical device. Each virtual server can run its own applications and operating system. This process increases the utilization of resources by making each virtual server act like a physical server and increases the capacity of each physical machine.

Key Benefits of Server Virtualization:

  • Higher server availability
  • Cheaper operating costs
  • Eliminate server complexity
  • Increased application performance
  • Deploy workload quicker

The Three Kinds of Server Virtualization:

1. Full Virtualization

Full virtualization uses a hypervisor, a type of software that directly communicates with a physical server’s disk space and CPU. The hypervisor monitors the physical server’s resources and keeps each virtual server independent and unaware of the other virtual servers. It also relays resources from the physical server to the correct virtual server as it runs applications. The biggest limitation of using full virtualization is that a hypervisor has its own processing needs. This can slow down applications and impact server performance.

2. Para-Virtualization

Unlike full virtualization, para-virtualization involves the entire network working together as a cohesive unit. Since each operating system on the virtual servers is aware of one another in para-virtualization, the hypervisor does not need to use as much processing power to manage the operating systems.

3. OS-Level Virtualization

Unlike full and para-virtualization, OS-level visualization does not use a hypervisor. Instead, the virtualization capability, which is part of the physical server operating system, performs all the tasks of a hypervisor. However, all the virtual servers must run that same operating system in this server virtualization method.

Related Topics: Hypervisor, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Digital Transformation

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