Virtualization

 

Over the years servers have proliferated as new hardware has been added to Datacentres – usually to fulfill specific functions or run different operating systems and in almost all cases with excess unused capacity on each server. Server farms have expanded dramatically both in number and size and Datacentres have taken up valuable office space and consumed vast amounts of energy.
Virtualization of servers, desktops, applications and storage has revolutionized the industry and is spreading rapidly to every part of the IT infrastructure. Essentially, virtualization allows a single computer (or server) to perform the functions that would have taken many. By sharing resources, virtual desktops and servers allow multiple operating systems and applications to be hosted from a single computer.

 

Server virtualization

Server virtualization is the most mature of the virtualization technologies and provides a very viable alternative to deploying multiple physical servers. Physical hardware servers are expensive to buy, run and maintain, and typically deliver very low levels of capacity usage – often as little as 15 to 20%. Server virtualization allows physical servers to be deployed as virtual machines and consolidated onto less hardware. The result is lower operating and maintenance costs as power consumption from energy hungry servers is reduced and much less cooling is required. As multiple virtual machines can be run on a single server and each is independent of one another, several different operating systems can co-exist on the same physical server. As long as the server has the required processing power and memory, as many as 15 or more virtual machines can function at the same time. As accredited but vendor-independent specialists in creating virtualization infrastructures, PT Solutions can provide the mix of technologies that meet our client’s needs.

Desktop virtualization

Desktop virtualization delivers a complete desktop experience to users as a secure on-demand service whenever and wherever it is needed. It therefore offers new and powerful opportunities for IT departments to respond to changing user needs in a flexible way. Traditionally, a user’s computer will run an operating system (such as Windows® 7) with applications (such as Microsoft® Office®) and will also store the user’s files and data locally. A virtualized desktop can be either client-hosted or centralized on servers in the data centre (often referred to as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI). Client-hosted desktop virtualization creates a separate OS environment on the desktop which allows non-compatible, legacy applications to operate within their native environment on top of another, perhaps more current, operating system. Another scenario may be that two IT environments may be run concurrently on the same physical device. End users benefit from a rich remote experience with a higher degree of flexibility (work-from- home, hot-desking) and highly secure and flexible access to their information. IT departments benefit from increased business continuity, as data is centralized, and integrated management of physical, virtual and session-based desktops.

 

Application virtualization

Application virtualization is a technology that allows users to execute applications without having them installed on their client computer. This is possible because the application virtualization technology takes resources such as memory allocations, device drivers, operating files, Windows® registry keys, etc. and recreates these in the virtual environment. When the underlying physical and recreated virtual resources are merged and presented to the client computer the virtualization layer makes the application perform as if it were installed on the client computer. In this way, applications become centrally managed virtual services that are never installed on the client computer. The technology delivers a variety of benefits including:

    • Applications can be streamed on-demand over the internet or via the corporate network to
     desktops, terminal servers and laptops resulting in greater user mobility as applications
     follow users.
    • Accelerates OS and application deployments reducing support costs, management overhead
     and wasted user time.
    • Automates and simplifies the application management life-cycle by significantly reducing
     application interoperability testing
    • Better user experience when application upgrades or patches are needed as the user
     is unaware that the process has taken place – no waiting, re-booting or uninstalling
     retiring applications.
    • Enables controlled application use when users are completely disconnected
    • Creates application-specific copies of all shared resources that are isolated into their own
     virtual environments
    • Allows for interaction with local system resources but prevents applications from overwriting
     the resources of other applications