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Get Smart: Server Virtualization

Posted on 6.26.2008
To truly be successful on the Web, you must understand not just your business industry, but how your website and marketing and promotion of it works. That means understanding not just PPC advertising or search engine optimization, but how to set up domain names and hosting, as well as masterting some IT along the way. If you're graced witih the presence of a savvy IT person in your organization, you may have heard them mention something about server virtualization. In order to prevent you from saying "huh" the next time you encounter them at the water cooler, it's time to get smart... about server virtualization.

Server virtualization is the masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users. That sounds like an IT person, doesn't it. How about this, let's talk about what it means in no uncertain terms to you: server virtualization (also known as hardware virtualization) carries the potential to offer major economic benefits. Server virtualization essentially enables multiple operating systems to run on a single physical machine as virtual machines (VMs). This means that you're hard working IT person can consolidate workloads of underutilized server machines onto a smaller number of fully utilized machines. Fewer physical machines can lead to reduced costs through lower hardware, energy, and management overhead, plus the creation of a more dynamic IT infrastructure. Sounds pretty good, right?

The server administrator uses a software application to divide one physical server into multiple isolated virtual environments - for example if you run ASP.NET in one environment, you could run a LAMP stack on another. The virtual environments established are sometimes called virtual private servers, but they are also known as partitions, guests, instances, containers or emulations.

Server virtualization can be viewed as part of an overall virtualization trend in enterprise IT that includes storage virtualization, network virtualization, and workload management. This trend is one component in the development of autonomic computing, in which the server environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity. Server virtualization can be used to eliminate server sprawl, to make more efficient use of server resources, to improve server availability, to assist in disaster recovery, testing and development, and to centralize server administration.

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