Virtualisation 101: An Enterprise Guide to Virtualisation Basics

From benefits to implementation challenges, here's what you need to know about virtualisation.

How can virtualisation benefit my business?

Beyond the potentially dramatic cost savings, virtualisation can greatly enhance an organisation's business agility. Companies that employ clustering, partitioning, workload management and other virtualisation techniques to configure groups of servers into reusable pools of resources are better positioned to respond to the changing demands their business places on those resources.

Also, this technology offers the potential for a fundamental change in the way IT managers think about computing resources. When managing individual boxes becomes less of a challenge, the focus of IT can shift from the technology to the services the technology can provide.

What are the different types of virtualisation?

There are three basic categories of virtualisation: Storage virtualisation melds physical storage from multiple network storage devices so that they appear to be a single storage device; network virtualisation combines computing resources in a network by splitting the available bandwidth into independent channels that can be assigned to a particular server or device in real-time; and server virtualisation hides the physical nature of server resources, including the number and identity of individual servers, processors and operating systems, from the software running on them.

This last category is far and away the most common application of the technology today, and it is widely considered the primary driver of the market. When most people use the term “virtualisation,” they're likely talking about server virtualisation.

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