Virtualization 101 ASPE RESOURCE SERIES. Prepared for ASPE by Global Knowledge's Kerry Doyle, MA, ZDNet/CNet.com Associate Editor

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1 ASPE RESOURCE SERIES Virtualization 101 Prepared for ASPE by Global Knowledge's Kerry Doyle, MA, ZDNet/CNet.com Associate Editor Real Skills. Real Results. Real IT. in partnership with

2 Virtualization 101 Kerry Doyle, MA, ZDNet/CNet.com Associate Editor Introduction Virtualization has fundamentally changed computing in a way that was unforeseen as recently as five years ago. Every area of the economy that utilizes computing has been impacted, from financial, telecom, and healthcare sectors to retail, manufacturing, media, and government. In addition to improving key data center processes, such as Business Continuity (BC) and High Availability (HA), virtualization provides companies with flexibility, cost savings, and disaster recovery options critical to their success. A recent study by Forrester Research reported that data virtualization will grow to $8 billion by But what exactly is virtualization and how can it help your company? The term virtualization can be applied to many aspects of an IT infrastructure: applications, networks, storage, hardware, and end-users. In this white paper, we ll define virtualization and focus on how certain trends, such as server virtualization, are changing the datacenter. We ll look at what makes virtualization so compelling to companies in terms of efficiencies, improved resource utilization, cost reductions, and automation, to name a few. We ll also address the ways in which virtualization optimizes the performance of servers, desktops, applications, and users. What Is Virtualization? Simply put, server virtualization consists of running multiple operating systems and applications on the same server at the same time. This eliminates the traditional, yet inefficient, model with its 1-to-1 correspondence between a dedicated server and a single operating system (OS). The current process of partitioning one physical server into several operating systems, or virtual machines (VMs), lets you simultaneously deploy, operate, and manage these multiple operating system instances on that single physical server. This offers enormous expansion opportunities for accommodating increased numbers of applications and unique users. The concept of virtualization originated back in the era of mainframes. Today s advances, especially the introduction of Intel x86 architecture and inexpensive PCs, have finally made virtualization technology possible. This innovation has enabled companies of all sizes to flexibly accommodate a multitude of users, extend the life of their datacenters, and save on hardware purchases and utility costs, in addition to streamlining server administration. Moreover, virtualization has substantially leveled the economic playing field, enabling small to medium businesses (SMBs) to compete and reach parity with much larger enterprises, something that was impossible a few years ago. Using server virtualization, these SMBs can quickly generate enormous computing power to handle a greater number of tasks while achieving energy, hardware, and management savings. Copyright 2012 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2

3 For SMBs, virtualization increases application availability and can dramatically shorten disaster recovery time to significantly improve business continuity preparedness. For enterprises, virtualization offers levels of efficiency in security, management, automation, and VM deployment as well as the ability to provide increased resources to more users. Across the board, virtualization allows enterprises and SMBs to reduce the number of physical machines in their data centers while maximizing the number of underlying applications. Advantages of Virtualization There are a number of key areas in which virtualization offers companies important benefits: Energy efficiency: By stacking multiple applications on a single server and sharing resources among them, virtualization optimizes server utilization and cuts waste. It eliminates single-application servers that use up exponential amounts of energy in processing and cooling. Lessening the physical size of datacenters also results in energy efficiency, decreased hardware costs, and maintenance savings. Improved server utilization: Consolidating multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware maximizes server usage. Removing the physical relationship between an OS and its native hardware with virtualization greatly expands server capacity and avoids under-utilization where, in some instances, single servers use less than 30 percent of their processing power. Architecture control: Virtualization enables companies of all sizes to simplify datacenter architecture. For example, eliminating inefficient servers and co-location centers enables a re-definition of the datacenter. Virtualization not only provides built-in redundancy by spreading the computing power across multiple inexpensive machines, it also ensures a server resource pool. This offers exponential performance capacity over a single, mid-range system and combined with virtualized networks and storage significantly changes today s datacenter architecture. Automation: The role of automation means that VMs can be copied, administered, and restored easily. Tasks, such as patch management, are simplified and administrators are freed up for other IT projects. Single-console management of VMs adds another layer of efficiency and increases response times during emergencies. The ability to shift VMs or other resources to a different server is another key feature. Administrators can conduct maintenance without interrupting service, disabling a system, or having to work off-hours. Types of Virtualization As mentioned earlier, virtualization can be applied to a number of different functions in a datacenter, such as networks, storage, and hardware. In the last ten years, virtualization as a tool has matured and been widely adopted because of the efficiencies it offers in each of these areas. The most prevalent and useful types extend across the computing infrastructure to offer key functionality. Copyright 2012 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 3

4 As mentioned previously, a common aspect of server virtualization renders each operating system instance independent of the other OSs on the same server. Each OS processes and responds exactly like an individual hardware server. In this way, VMs are typically full implementations of a standard OS, such as Windows 7, running side by side with many other instances, for example, versions of Windows Vista or RedHat Enterprise Linux.. Each OS then runs its own applications that are accessible to an almost unlimited number of users. In the case of desktop virtualization, the client OS runs on a server in the datacenter and is delivered virtually to a user. It offers greater workplace efficiency, lower costs, and increased scalability for IT managers. For example, tasks such as application updates and patch management can be remotely applied only once to effect changes to multiple virtualized desktops. That s because the virtualized desktop is stored on a centralized, or remote, server and not the physical machine. Virtualized desktop users have the ease of mobility - they can access their desktop from anywhere by logging in as a unique user. Users can then perform the same tasks and use the same applications that would be accessible on their normal workstation. Essentially, there are four types of desktop virtualization: Thick client: This is a standard desktop supplied with a virtual desktop image delivered from the datacenter. Thin client: This employs a stripped-down OS and supports the user interface functionality (video, audio, printer, mouse, keyboard). Net client: This can be a mobile device, such as an iphone running a specific OS. Zero client: All of the operating system runs on a server in the datacenter and is sent out to the client, nothing at desktop. User virtualization shares some similarities with desktop virtualization, yet it offers truly unique features. For users, it provides the ability to maintain a fully personalized virtual desktop when not on the company network. For example, users can log into a workplace desktop from anywhere with all the settings and applications in place using a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. For IT, user virtualization provides the ability to manage desktop components independently and apply them to a workspace as needed without scripting or group policies. IT administrators can perform: settings management workplace configuration application lock-downs streamlined management In terms of application virtualization, formerly referred to as thin client, applications are not installed locally on a workstation. Rather, personal information and unique application characteristics are all stored on, managed, and delivered via a remote service. The local device provides the CPU and RAM required to run the software. Thus, the virtual applications run locally, but the management and application logic run remotely. Copyright 2012 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 4

5 Major Virtualization Players The virtualization market is made up of a few dominant, long-standing players and, due to increased adoption, a constant stream of smaller niche companies. VMware is the recognized leader due to both its server virtualization dominance with its commercial product, vsphere, as well as its desktop-level virtualization tools. VMware continues to maintain superiority due to its foresight, innovation, and execution, and through its ability to expand its virtualization arsenal. Citrix and Microsoft represent two other major virtualization players. Although VMware controls a majority of the market, Citrix and Microsoft continue to gain in market share. Citrix has made strides in application and desktop virtualization using its Xen product. In fact, in the area of desktop virtualization, XenDesktop attracts important name recognition. It offers true cross-platform functionality, management ease, and diverse user capabilities. Xen is also currently one of the most-used pieces of cloud vendor software. And the commercial product, XenServer, supports a wide range of operating systems, from Linux-based OSs to Unix and BSD as well as Windows. In the case of Microsoft, the company has recognized the importance of virtualization and gradually produced a number of diverse resources, even including virtualization tools in the latest version of Windows 7. In addition, Hyper-V, its non-linux, hypervisor-based platform, remains one of the core functions of Windows Server The advantage for Microsoft is in its ability to offer attractive licensing for Hyper-V and the operating systems that reside on it for companies who already use Microsoftm, which is generally large. There are quite a few niche companies in the area of virtualization, and their numbers continue to expand as adoption becomes increasingly widespread. Some of the more well-known are Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and Parallels, as well as Amazon, Google, and Cisco. For Red Hat, open source virtualization represents a model in which the no-cost underlying source code can be used and re-engineered by anyone. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 (RHEV) is a low-cost, scalable solution that is equal to Windows-based, proprietary solutions. In addition, open virtualization provides better security access as well as the unparalleled ability to mitigate network viral attacks. As time passes and virtualization options accrue, more companies are seeing the benefits of having mixed environments that use both open source and proprietary solutions together. This enables them to achieve greater data center power and agility. The hypervisor from Sun Microsystems, xvm, incorporates Xen and Solaris technology so it can work seamlessly with other Sun architectures. xvm allows the virtualization of servers based either on Solaris, Windows, or Linux OSs, and this is a key differentiator. Oracle has also entered the virtualization market with its Oracle VM product. This Xen hypervisor-based tool is robust enough for larger enterprises or smaller companies. In the effort to create a useful niche, the company Parallels offers the Virtuozzo Container. This container-based server virtualization technology and software can virtualize Microsoft Windows environments on Macintosh platforms. Finally, Google and Amazon represent heavy hitters who have incorporated virtualization capabilities. Amazon s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the industry standard virtualization platform. It offers users the ability to quickly provision server resources on an as-need basis. Google s cloud resources, such as Google Apps, App Engine, etc., represent virtualization in the broadest sense of the term. Google covers all the key areas, from access, application, and processing virtualization to storage. Copyright 2012 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 5

6 Conclusion Virtualization continues to have an enormous impact and promises further breakthroughs as adoptions continue and cross-platform performance becomes the norm for both small SMBs and large enterprises. In general, virtualization not only reduces data center expenses, it also offers companies a compelling number of benefits: increased processing agility, better resource management, and streamlined implementation, to name a few. In addition to improving key data center processes, such as Business Continuity (BC) and High Availability (HA), virtualization provides companies both large and small, with disaster recovery options critical to their success. Today, companies can access a range of virtualization options (desktop, server, storage, etc.) to achieve a highlevel of processing functionality, accommodate diverse end-users, and support IT administrators. Research has shown that regardless of the industry, virtualization has permeated every aspect of today s global economy and continues to fulfill the promise that was first suggested during the early mainframe era. About the Author Kerry Doyle writes for a diverse group of companies based in technology, business and higher education. As an educator and former editor at PCComputing, reporter for PCWeek Magazine and Associate Editor at ZDNet. com, he has written extensively on high-tech issues for over 15 years. He specializes in computing trends vital to SMBs and enterprises alike, from virtualization and cloud computing to disaster recovery and network storage. Learn More Learn more about how you can improve productivity, enhance efficiency, and sharpen your competitive edge through training. Citrix XenApp 6.5 Basic Administration Citrix XenDesktop 5 Administration Implementing and Managing Microsoft Server Virtualization (M10215) VMware View: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.0] VMware vsphere: Fast Track [V5.0] VMware vsphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V5.0] Visit or call COURSES ( ) to speak with a Global Knowledge training advisor. Copyright 2012 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 6

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