Back to Basics: Virtualization

How it will be useful for effective use of Enterprise resource

As part of the Back to basics series, I would like to share some of the important technology which plays a prominent role in the effective use of computation resources like CPU, Memory, Storage i.e., Virtualization.

With the exponential growth of technology, People using machines for different purposes have also been increased in the form of creative, technical, and another purpose where it requires high computational power. This is where virtualization comes into place.

Let’s assume you wanted to run an android environment but you also want to have your personal machine separately. In this situation, you can create a virtual environment for your android environment which can be on your machine or in the cloud. So let’s understand more about it.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is a type of technology where we can create virtual instances of a computer by using the resources of the base hardware Machine. With the help of virtualization, we can able to pool computing resources to perform various tasks and also it helps to run multiple operating machines on a single base hardware.

For a Virtual Machine (VM), it is like an independent computer using its own OS and computing powers which cut down dependencies and increase performance.

History of Virtualization

Traditional Architecture merely relies on using single hardware for single-purpose which means one OS on one server. It consumed a lot of resources and became a burden to larger organizations to spend a huge amount of money in maintaining operating Datacenters. At some times, when there is less demand, Companies have no option to leave servers at an idle state but still bear the expense.

Hence they thought of a solution where they can pool the resources and use them to run an environment that will not be physical but uses the resources of a physical hardware environment.

How it can be done?

Pooling of resources can be an easy task by connecting multiple hardware. But, how to use them effectively for virtualization is the biggest challenge. There comes hypervisor technology.

The hypervisor is a device that can be used as a base platform to use the pool resources to create VM’s and run effectively. There are two types of hypervisors used in the industry based on the usage.

Type 1: VM on Hardware

This type of hypervisor uses bare-metal hardware which works as an operating system and allots resources for creating VM’s. There are mostly used across enterprises for default infrastructure.

Type 2: VM on Software with Underlying Hardware

These are types of devices where software is needed for underlying hardware to work. So, between the hardware and software, there is a guest operating system that manages and allocates the resources.

So, now we have two types of Hypervisors for creating VM’s. But what are the benefits of using them?

Benefits

  • Efficient use of resources
  • Easy to deploy and manage
  • High Availability
  • Able to install multiple operating systems
  • Reduce cost expenses
  • Administrative Benefits

So these are some of the benefits of using a Virtualization Environment. So, who are the top market leaders in this sector?

The Enterprise Players

When we discuss Enterprise Options for virtualization we are talking about Type 1 Hypervisors running on bare metal. VMware vSphere (and ESXi) and Microsoft’s Hyper-V are the two players who have the most of the market coverage. But, they are not the only Enterprise solutions, but they are probably the most common. Other Enterprise Options include:

  • Oracle VM Server
  • Red Hat Virtualization
  • Citrix Hypervisor
  • IBM PowerVM
  • Xen Server
  • Proxmox VE
  • Nutanix’s AHV
  • Virtuozzo( Open Source)
  • Xen ( Open Source)
  • Proxmox ( Open Source)
  • Scale Computing HC3 ( Open Source)

Type 2 Hypervisors

Type 2 Hypervisors are mostly used in situations where it requires building an isolated test environment or any lab to perform a certain task. These come with free and paid versions based on requirements and Platforms. Below is the list of applications

  • VMware Workstation Pro ($) — Windows, Linux
  • VMware Player (free) — Windows, Linux
  • VMware Fusion Pro (Paid) — Mac
  • VMware Fusion (free) — Mac
  • Parallels Desktop (Standard) ($) — Mac
  • Parallels Desktop (Paid) ($) — Mac
  • Parallels Desktop (Business) ($) — Mac
  • Oracle Virtualbox (free) — Windows, Mac, and Linux

So… What now?

Virtualization became mandatory in Enterprise IT Architecture to maintain servers, applications, and Virtual Desktops for Remote users ( Using VMWare Horizon ). Vendors also upgrading their virtualization technology to deploy more applications, Appliances like NextGen firewall using virtualization technology with High availability and seamless Experience.

What Next?

Cloud … Cloud … Cloud. Enterprises are migrating to the cloud and deploying the application in the cloud in form of IAAS, PAAS, SAAS. Even Org’s are migrating their DC to the cloud.

Due to this, Virtualization vendors like VMware are providing different types of solutions to implement the virtualization environment supporting Multiple clouds and platforms.

Full time Information Security Engineer, Part time Red Team learner