Virtualization

Morpheus: What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

In the computational world and in this age it is true that there is nothing called real. The world is dominated by Virtual – Virtual reality, virtual dating, virtual test-drive, virtual machines, etc. I was first introduced to the concept of virtualization in my Operating System class (Threads and Instances). Virtualization gained popularity with object oriented programming (encapsulation) and it was primarily used for designing applications. Recently it has gained momentum with Resource and Platform virtualization. And now the next big wave is using virtualization for business continuity. Underutilized servers, complex IT systems, increasing IT costs, loss of business due to IT disruptions are some of the burning issues in every company. Because virtualization separates applications from the physical layer and allows for sharing of resources in a multi-OS environment, it is easier to set up two sites which are active. This helps in better utilization of physical resources, reduced costs and no interruptions as there are two active sites. Virtualization thus is shifting the focus of business continuity from recovery to uninterruptible service.

As taught everyday in my IT Strategy course, every technological investment should have a business case and understanding its importance and impact after entering the industry, I am personally a big fan of business cases for any new implementation / technology. After the dot com boom, this is one thing that requires little effort on the IT management to build a business case. It has more quantitative results to show the value of the project. Consolidation through virtualization reduces administrator and operator costs. There are predictions that the number of people required for monitoring and administering computer systems in the data center will decline as much as 50% over the next two decades.

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