AS THE NUMBER of applications and systems we use to run our businesses has grown exponentially, it has become increasingly clear that the hardware resources we implement to support these applications are not being used to their fullest potential. As each new application is brought on line, it is typical to dedicate hardware to the care and feeding of the new application. By having each application on its own server, you can prevent a misbehaving application from affecting other applications. By dedicating data storage to an application, you can more easily ensure that the application will have the data storage space it needs. So, as the number of applications grows, so does the amount of hardware in our server rooms and data centers. And all of these new servers and data storage devices require an ever-increasing amount of IT resources, personnel, and energy to keep them running.
Virtualization is the concept of sharing hardware resources among the services and applications that use the resources. At the Gartner Symposium
ITxpo in 2008, this marketing research firm named virtualization the number one of its top 10 strategic technologies for 2009 Virtualization allows you to take a single hardware resource and turn it into multiple resources from the application's point of view. For example, a single physical server can be transformed into multiple "virtual" servers, each with its own CPU, memory, disk drive, and network controller that are not connected to each even though they all run on the same physical server. This allows multiple applications to now run on a single server without the possibility of them interfering with each other. In fact, server virtualization is the most common form of virtualization and is what most people think of when they hear the term "virtualization." Other resources that can be virtualized include disk storage, memory, network resources, and applications. By vir-tualizing physical resources, you can save energy and money, as well as make it easier to reposition these resources as the needs of the business changes.
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