Virtualization is creating a virtual, rather than actual
version of something, such as a desktop or applications. It is basically the
breaking down of a computer and its resources under a specific network or
server and makes the specific resource accessible under the network or server.
Types of Virtualization
Virtualization can be broken down into many types: desktop
virtualization, platform virtualization, application virtualization, and
resource virtualization. Resource virtualization in respect can also be broken
down and include different forms: storage virtualization, network virtualization,
and memory virtualization.
Desktop virtualization, which can also be called server
virtualization or system virtualization, was introduced in the 1990s. It is a
relatively new innovation of virtualization that uses the primary idea of
dividing something up creating a virtual rather than actual version of it.
Specifically, in desktop virtualization the desktop is virtualized, being
stored on something such as a remote central server instead of on a local
computer. Having it stored on a remote central server instead of localizing it
makes the desktop accessible anywhere. Users can work on their own desktop,
using their own programs, applications, and accessing their own files while being
away from the actual desktop. Users can access this from a computer anywhere,
such as at work.
Platform virtualization is the virtualization of machines
through the use of a server platform by a control program. This type of
virtualization becomes its own type of computing platform, thus making this
type of virtualization called platform virtualization. Platform virtualization
emulates a computing platform without actually having a physical computer
platform that would normally run the operating systems and software written for
the computing platform. Platform virtualization typically runs from a large
physical server that hosts many virtual machines that are accessible by guests.
Application virtualization is virtualization of
applications, allowing these applications to be executed on as if it was being
executed under the specific operating system it was written to execute under. This
type of virtualization only virtualizes specific applications rather than
virtualize something like an operating system that the applications would run
on. By virtualizing applications, this allows the applications to run under
different operating systems that it was not originally written or meant to run
under. For instance a user can run an application written for a Windows
operating system under a Mac or Linux operating system.
Resource virtualization is the virtualization of specific
system resources such as storage virtualization, network virtualization, and
- Storage virtualization: Mapping a virtual data storage space
to an actual physical location. An example of this is disk partitioning.
- Network virtualization: Creating or combining many networks
into a virtual network splitting up available bandwidth to a specific server.
- Memory virtualization: Separates Random Access Memory (RAM)
from networked systems and then combines them to be accessible to anyone in the
In all aspects of virtualization, the point of virtualizing
a network, system, or anything in particular is to help reduce overall costs.
Another benefit of virtualizing regardless of type is that virtualizing hides
the complexities and complicatedness of the actual server, network, or resource
and making it manageable to the layman.
In regards to specific types of virtualization, desktop
virtualization can help the environment. According to Wikipedia, it can save up
to three times as much power and energy when using desktop virtualization
instead of traditional PCs. Also, under
desktop virtualization, it is almost like having a backup because the files and
applications are stored under a server and not a specific device, so if
something happens to a the specific device, the files and applications will not
Application virtualization as stated previously allows
applications to be run through a different operating system that it was not
originally written for. Application virtualization can also run applications
that may not be correctly written, which could be a great tool for testing a
beta version of an application.
Timeline of Virtualization
Virtualization Admin (articles & tutorials about Virtualization)