What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of creating several virtual machines (VMs) from one physical machine using software called a hypervisor. The VMs act and perform just like physical machines, but they use the physical machine’s computing resources — things like CPU, memory, and storage. The hypervisor allocates these computing resources to each VM as needed. 

What are the benefits of virtualization?

Being able to have one machine serve as many machines means not only do you need fewer servers, but you can use the ones you do have to their fullest capacity. These efficiency gains translate into cost savings on hardware, cooling, and maintenance.

Additionally, you no longer need to have separate servers to run legacy apps and different operation system types and versions. With virtualization, you can run multiple types of apps, desktops, and operating systems on the same machine.

What can you virtualize?

Server virtualization

Servers are powerful machines designed to run specific, complex tasks. It’s common for IT to assign one task or application per server, but this can often result in underutilized capacity. You may also end up with too many servers, not enough space in your data center, and expensive electricity bills.

Server virtualization allows you to tap into the full power of your server by partitioning it into multiple virtual servers, each running its own operating system. In doing so, you can do more with less and significantly reduce hardware and operating costs.

App and desktop virtualization

Today’s employees want to use their own devices and have access to their apps from outside the office. Installing and maintaining apps and desktops on individual computers for each employee is expensive and can be a management and security nightmare. 

Virtual apps and desktops, on the other hand, reside on a central server, from which IT can deploy hundreds of simulated apps and desktops to users at once rather than having to install them on each computer. The same goes for patches and updates. People interact with virtual apps and desktops just like they do with native ones and can access them from different devices and have the same user experience.

Not only does app and desktop virtualization give employees the freedom to work how, when, and where they want, but it gives IT more control, better security, and easier management. Virtual apps and desktops also help organizations ensure regulatory compliance, disaster recovery and business continuity.

Network virtualization

With the popularity and widespread use of virtualized environments, many organizations are also virtualizing their networks. Network virtualization makes it easier to program and provision the network — things like load balancing and firewalling — without having to touch the underlying infrastructure. IT typically manages the software components using a software-based administrator’s console.

As computing needs evolve, network virtualization simplifies how IT rolls out, scales, and adjusts workloads.

Virtualization’s role in cloud computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of shared computing resources, software, or data as a service through the internet. Virtualization is one of the key technologies that makes cloud computing possible. Cloud providers use virtualization so they can serve many customers from one server. Many organizations use both virtualization and cloud computing for maximum efficiencies.

Learn more about Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix Workspace.

Additional Resources:

Download the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) kit
How VDI Addresses Top IT Challenges
Reducing Costs and Increasing Efficiency with Cloud VDI and Azure
Virtual Apps and Desktops and Windows 10 Migration kit