Virtualization 101: Virtualization concepts

Virtualization 101: Virtualization concepts

Understanding the basic concepts of different kinds of virtualization

Read Virtualization 101: What is virtualization?

Software appliances and virtualization

Virtual machines (VM) can be used for more than consolidation. Software appliances can be used to package and deliver solutions on top of VMs. Gartner analyst, Phillip Dawson, said a server software appliance hides complexity beneath an application-specific management interface.

Delivered appliances can range from locked-down applications to preconfigured and preinstalled applications, as well as related middleware and management tools. Dawson said early server VM software appliances are mostly ready-to-run demos.

He said future appliances will move toward test/development scenarios that can be easily converted to production. Over the next 12 months Dawson said security standards will be developed and application vendors will test the waters by bundling applications and/or middleware on top of a hypervisor/OS combination.

Workspace virtualization

Workspace virtualization tools separate the user's working environment from the OS or any applications on the PC on which it executes. This allows users to run a corporate-managed workspace on a corporate or user-owned PC or Mac.

Gartner analyst, Terrence Cosgrove, said these tools allow the work space to execute on the local client.

This is different to hosted virtual desktops (HVD), which execute in the data centre.

Cosgrove said it allows users to have a secure, device-independent workspace, while leveraging local processing power and working offline.

He said the adoption of workspace virtualization tools was originally driven by organisations that wanted to separate workspaces to prevent data leakage.

"The technology has matured enough to support thousands of users," he said.

"These tools hold particular promise for mobile users who are connected intermittently to enterprise networks."

Cosgrove said these tools offer some of the management benefits of HVDs without the necessary infrastructure build out. They are suitable for a wide range of users including employee-owned PC users, remote users connecting over slow links, contractors, knowledge workers and mobile users.

"This technology offers potentially high benefits due to its ability to support user-owned IT initiatives and the separation of user and corporate workspaces," Cosgrove said.

Capacity planning and management tools

Capacity planning tools help plan for optimal performance of business processes based on planned variations of demand. These tools are designed to assist IT organisations achieve performance goals and planning budgets without the overprovisioning of infrastructure or excessive off-premises capacity.

While physical infrastructure and component focused capacity planning tools have been available for a while, Gartner analyst Milind Govekar said products that can support a dynamic environment are yet to mature.

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