What is Server Virtualization and Why is it Important for VPS Hosting?
Let’s start with the basics – what is virtualization?
As the name implies, virtualization refers to creating digital or virtual versions of real-time objects. In terms of technology, this object may be computer hardware or software, network resources or storage devices.
Today, we’ll cover server virtualization including what it is and how it impacts a VPS hosting environment.
What is server virtualization?
Server virtualizations involve partitioning a physical server into multiple virtual servers (of different sizes) using a virtual machine monitor (or hypervisor software).
There are different hypervisors available, namely type 1 (“bare metal”) and type 2 (“hosted” or “native”). The type 1 hypervisor runs directly on the physical hardware of the host machine and does not require any software or operating system.
A type 2 hypervisor, on the other hand, runs like a regular computer program or software on an operating system.
These isolated virtual environments, called Virtual Private Servers or Virtual Machines, provide maximum server resources to the end user. In short, opting for this type of setup gives you complete control over your server resources.
What are the types of server virtualization?
Broadly, there are three types of server virtualization :
Virtual machine model (or full virtualization)
With full virtualization, the separate servers are not aware of each other.
To achieve this environment, you will need a hypervisor. It communicates with the servers to monitor CPU usage and disk space, and then allocates resources as required across multiple virtual server deployments.
Hypervisors do require a certain amount of dedicated server resources to operate, thus, limiting overall server power.
Paravirtual machine (PVM)
One of the major differences between full and para-virtualization is that every OS (Operating System) on the server is aware of each other’s presence, allowing the entire network to work together to manage resources. Its most significant benefit is that hypervisor does not require a lot of resources to operate, as different virtual servers are already aware of each other and can share the resources efficiently.
It is the most basic form of server virtualization. Though it can be easily deployed and maintained with fewer resources than the other two types of server virtualization, it has certain limitations.
While using OS-level server virtualization, you do not require Hypervisor. Instead, the operating system of the physical server handles the task of managing resources and separating virtual machines.
What are the benefits of server virtualization?
Some of the many benefits of server virtualization include:
1. Saves money
When one physical server is partitioned into multiple virtual machine servers, you can easily deploy, operate, and manage several operating systems at once on that single physical server. And fewer physical servers mean you’ll have to spend less on maintenance and management.
2. Reduces the number of physical servers
As there are fewer physical servers, it will reduce the space occupied. And, regardless of the company size, it is always a good idea to save space.
3. Creates independent user environments
We’ve established that server virtualization creates independent user environments. And, keeping everything separate is useful for software testing (so that the programmers can run the application on the virtual server without affecting others).
4. Provides affordable web hosting
When dozens of servers can fit on the same system, the supply of virtual servers increases for no additional cost.
5. Better resource management
Server virtualization helps in enhanced resource management as the virtual servers typically share the same physical server along with its resources.
6. Saves time
Server virtualization ensures that your server is provisioned and installed within minutes. As it clones an existing virtual machine server, virtualization helps save a lot of time required to install a new physical server from scratch.
The future of server virtualization
It is good to note that virtualization is not a new concept (computer scientists have been manufacturing ‘supercomputers’ for decades). However, server virtualization was only invented in the late 90s.
It took a while to catch up with the pace, but in the past couple of years the growth of server virtualizations has been explosive. Eventually, companies realized they were wasting resources, and adopted virtualization technology to consolidate their business’s technical operations. Therefore, server virtualization is more of a basic need than an advanced concept.
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