What does a machine need?
Each computing environment(machine) needs its own component of hardware resources and software resources.
As more and more machines are needed, building up and administering many such stand-alone machines is not only cumbersome, time-consuming but also adds up to the cost and energy.
Apparently; to run a customized High-power Scalable Server it is a better idea to consolidate all the hardware and software requirements into one place and have a single server run and distribute the resources to many machines overall networks.
Suggested Read: What is docker?
That saves us time, resources, energy and revenue. These gigantic servers are stored in a data warehouse called a Datacenter. A single server serving and sharing resources and data among multiple client machines
Does this look simplified enough? Yes of course!
The setup looks feasible if we have a high-power, high-storage Server that provides resources to many other smaller(resources) machines over a network.
How to manage huge data – Servers
With the Internet of Things in the boom, Information is overflowing with a huge amount of data; handling tremendous data needs more system resources which means more Dedicated servers are needed.
Many Servers find challenges:
Running several Dedicated servers for specific services such as Web service, application or database service is difficult to administer and consumes more energy, resources, manpower and is highly expensive.
In additional resource utilization of servers is very poor resulting in resource wastage.
This is where simulating different environments and running them all on a single server is a smart choice; rather than having to run multiple physically distinct servers.
Also Read: Introduction to docker swarm
What is Virtualization?
The above single server implementation can be defined as the following term.
Virtualization is a technique used to simulate and pretend a single infrastructure resource (hardware resources and software resources) to be acting as many providing multiple functionalities or services without the need to physically build, install and configure.
In other words, Running multiple simulated environments in a single machine without installing and configuring them is called Virtualization.
Technically speaking, Virtualization is an abstract layer that shares the infrastructure resources among various simulated virtual machines without the need to physically set up these environments.
Different virtual Operating systems are running on the same machine and using the same hardware architecture of the underlying machine.
What is a Virtual machine?
The simulated virtualized environments are called virtual machines or VM. The virtual machine is a replication/simulation of an actual physical machine. A VM acts like a real physical machine and uses the physical resources of the underlying host OS. A VM is a running instance of a real physical machine.
Need for virtualization
So; we have an overview of virtualization, let us examine when should we virtualize and what are the benefits of virtualization?
- Better resource management and cost-effective: hardware resources are distributed wisely on need basis to different environments; all the virtual machines share the same resources and reduce resource wastage.
- Ease of quick administration and maintenance: It is easier to build, install, configure one server rather than multiple servers. Updating a patch on various machines from a single virtualized server is much more feasible.
- Disaster recovery: Since all the virtualized machines reside on the same server and are treated as mounted volumes of data files, it is easier to back up these machines. In case of a disaster failure (power failure, network down, cyber-attacks, failed test code, etc) VM screenshots are used to recover the running state of the machine and the whole setup can be built up within minutes.
- Isolated and independent secure test environment: virtualization provide an isolated independent virtual test environment to test the legacy code or a vendor-specific product or even a beta release or say a corrupt code without affecting the main hardware and software platform. This is a contradictory statement though discuss more under types of virtualization
This test environments like dev, uat, preprod, prod etc. can be easily tested and discarded.
- Easily scalable and upgradable: Building up more simulated environments means spinning up more virtual machines. Also upgrading VMs is as good as to run a patch in all VMs.
- Portable: Virtual machines are lightweight compared to the actual running physical machines; in addition, a VM that includes its own OS, drivers, and other installation files is portable on any machine. One can access the data virtually from any location.