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Virtualization Techniques in Cloud Computing

Network virtualization 

In the late 1990s, most enterprises used physical servers and single-vendor IT solutions. Each server could run only one vendor-specific task. As a result, companies underused physical hardware when updating systems with applications from different vendors.

For example, a company had to use three different physical servers for mail, web apps, and internal legacy apps. Each server was used at about 40% capacity, and the rest of the resources weren't used. 

Virtualization enabled companies to virtually split servers and run multi-vendor apps on multiple operating systems. In addition, the efficiency of virtualization helped companies reduce maintenance, cooling and installation costs. Virtualization reduced vendor lock-in problems and became the foundation of cloud computing.

What Is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the creation of virtual computing resources, such as infrastructure environments, servers, or virtual devices. The most basic example of virtualization is the separation of your computer drive into multiple virtual parts. Disk partitioning makes the operating system see the drive as two or three separate parts, while you have only one hard drive.

How Does Virtualization Work?

A technology called hypervisors or Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) isolates the physical hardware from the virtual environments. A hypervisor also creates a virtual environment that emulates the operation of physical hardware. This environment is also known as a Virtual Machine (VM). The VM functions as a single data file that you can move from one computer to another.

The performance of virtual machines is lower than the operation of a real hardware system. However, virtualization is still popular because most operating systems and applications do not need the full power of the underlying hardware. This removes the dependency on a given hardware vendor and leads to greater flexibility and control.

The Cloud and Virtualization

Virtualization is a fundamental element of cloud computing. Virtualization and cloud computing work together to utilize the full potential of the cloud. Many cloud providers offer virtualization as a part of their service package. However, these virtualization technologies are not similar.

The main difference between cloud computing and virtualization is their service model. Cloud computing provides features that do not exist in virtualization, such as self-service, automation, scalability, and pay-as-you-go. Whereas virtualization refers to the logical creation of a virtual resource.

Virtualization Types in Cloud Computing

Storage virtualization

Virtualization enables users to combine several hardware storage spaces into one simulated environment. Virtual storage environments are managed from one command console.

Organizations often use virtual storage in Storage Area Networks (SAN), which is a high-speed network that provides block-level network access to storage. A SAN uses virtualization to present storage blocks in a way that makes it seem as if the storage is local.

Storage virtualization in the cloud usually simplifies the complex physical storage architecture of data backup and archiving. Cloud admins can implement virtualization with dedicated software applications or with hybrid hardware and software applications.

Virtual Kubernetes clusters

Kubernetes is a widespread standard for containerized application management. However, a Kubernetes adoption process is typically complex, due to a long learning process and scalable management problems.

One approach to easily adopt a cloud-native environment of Kubernetes is through the use of Managed Kubernetes services. Managed Kubernetes enables companies to easily spin up Kubernetes control planes. As a result, each development team can work on its own Kubernetes cluster, or assign only one app per cluster.

Network virtualization

Network virtualization in cloud computing abstracts hardware network resources like routers, and firewalls to software-based networks. Virtualization can combine several physical networks into one virtual environment or separate one physical network into independent virtual networks. With network virtualization, you do not need dedicated hardware for each network function.

Network virtualization reduces the number of physical hardware devices, which leads to lower operational costs. This technology is particularly popular in the telecommunications industry and 5G networks. Virtualization enables instant access to 5G services and applications using the software-defined network, rather than specialized hardware.

Server virtualization

Servers take the load of computers by processing multiple tasks really fast. Server virtualization enables severs to do more of those specific tasks by dividing physical servers into several parts. Each part simulates a real server by changing its identity, processor and operating system.

Cloud computing users do not need to continuously manage complex server resources. Server virtualization enables users to share and utilize many resources while maintaining the option to expand them when needed.

Data virtualization

Data virtualization merges data from multiple sources into a single virtual environment without copying or moving the data. Users can manage and retrieve the data without requiring technical details like location, performance or format. Data virtualization tools enable users to treat data as a single source and deliver the needed data in the required form to any application or user.

Desktop virtualization

Traditional desktop environments require a separate installation on each machine. Virtualization enables administrators to simultaneously configure simulated desktop environments on multiple physical machines. In addition, virtualization enables admins to access the desktop remotely, as well as update, configure, and run system security audits.

Application virtualization

Application virtualization in cloud computing separates an application from the operating system. Users can access the application without having to install it on the target device. In addition, virtualization enables an application to run on many different operating systems.

From the user's point of view, the virtualized application acts like a native application. Users can minimize, resize, or move the application according to their needs. This approach helps admins overcome problems like application incompatibility with their existing hardware and different software bugs.

Conclusion

Virtualization plays a very important role in cloud computing technology. Without virtualization, cloud computing users cannot share their infrastructure-they can only share data. Virtualization has many benefits and drawbacks, but the main benefit is access to greater resources compared to traditional systems.

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About the Author

 

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Imperva, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giladdavidmaayan/ 
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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