Virtualization and its Impact

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As across companies, in ICT departments, it is possible to hear more and more talks about virtualization let’s define this term. ‘Virtualization’ is the possibility to create virtual components by abstracting from hardware components.

There are many types of virtualization. The most important kind of virtualization, that enable a deep change in the ICT services methodology of distribution, can be divided into 3 categories: Network Virtualization, Server Virtualization and Desktop Virtualization. What are the benefits of different virtualization types?

Network Virtualization: allows to create, add and divide networks in a simple and dynamic way, by removing switch and router dependency. Physical network devices become channels in which network logics are totally managed by software components. It simplifies company network change without a need to touch the wiring.

Server Virtualization: allows to create virtual machines to execute various software needed for company business development. Singular features on specific machines can be quickly isolated. For example, inbox server can be executed on a different machine from the management software and thanks to that increase protection in case of malware. These could operate just on a single service and not on the whole company domain. The unique console for virtual machines management decreases complexity in adding new resources, simplifies backups and reduces maintenance times. Furthermore, the most modern management consoles help troubleshooting by informing an ICT Manager before they could be perceived by the user. Finally, Server Virtualization has been one of the enabling technologies to what we call today Cloud Computing.

Desktop Virtualization: provides the possibility to centralize resources available to every user. Adding new workstations will not require to buy new devices, optimizing in this way hardware resources already available in the company. Besides, this technology enables company mobility, which will be always more widespread: every user will find all his resources available, independently from where he will connect and without invalidate company needs about security and data protection. It also enables the use of thin clients, which can provide the same experience as a traditional PC however with significantly reduced energy cost.

As it always happens with introducing change many people are reluctant or fear it. The main fears are connected to the initial costs of introducing virtualization. It might not be a piece of cake to calculate the overall costs, nevertheless, I can guarantee that the return on investment will positively surprise you. Both in terms of hours spend on the system maintenance and money save by your company.

Another fear regards the lack of competence to start a virtualization project. Becoming experts in this area require years of experience. Nevertheless, with the great dissemination of these systems, management consoles for virtualization became easily manageable also for beginners. Another advantage is that on the internet, there are many websites with the best practices regarding how to start a virtualization project, many of them provided by the main VDI players.

Moreover, it is a common thought that the switch from a traditional ICT system to a virtual one would require a service downtime, nothing could be more wrong. Thanks to the flexibility of a virtualized system features, it is possible to recreate a test ambient in which to reproduce all company workflows and send the system to production only when everything works and everyone is satisfied.

Therefore, there are no more reasons why virtualization could frighten someone. It is a widespread technology that allows companies to be ready and responsive to the new market, by drastically reducing the costs of future operations. In the next years it will make on-site maintenance disappear.

Guest post by Nicola Manica:  Nicola is an African rover and open source nerd with main interest in operating systems with a predilection for time constraint systems. He received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer and the Ph.D. degree from the International Graduate School in Information and Communication Technologies, University of Trento, Italy. Currently he works in Praim,
where you can find more of his articles.