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In today’s enterprise IT infrastructure, virtualization has gone mainstream as businesses seek more productive and cost-effective ways of running their businesses. With cloud computing as one of the main drivers of digital transformation in recent years, the adoption of virtualization creates the enabling environment for both cloud providers and users to manage and distribute cloud services more effectively.

Virtualization makes it possible for operating systems, applications and data storage from software or hardware to be represented in virtual form. Given the number of businesses moving their resources to the cloud, it becomes increasingly expedient for cloud providers to utilize virtualization to configure their services according to the individual needs of their customers, making their services more scalable and flexible.

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In cloud computing, virtualization allows cloud providers to create a virtual emulation of multiple products or services on one machine without impacting the system’s efficiency. Besides helping cloud providers reduce hardware resources and implement energy-saving computing techniques, virtualization allows cloud users to purchase computing resources according to their needs. This helps end-users to only subscribe to necessary computing resources as their workload expands.

There are a variety of types to consider, and knowing them would help ensure that you apply virtualization in your IT infrastructure at the right instances. With that said, let’s go through six types of virtualization.

1. Storage virtualization

Storage management is one area of cloud computing that has been improved in recent years through virtualization. Storage virtualization involves collecting and merging several physical storage units and rendering them as one storage cluster over a network.

This type often comes in handy for enterprises and individuals aiming to expand and scale their storage without investing in physical storage facilities. In addition, storage virtualization improves effective storage management by ensuring that multiple storage points can easily be accessed from a single repository.

2. Network virtualization

Network virtualization is used to merge several networks into one, duplicate the resources of a network and run an interconnection between virtual machines.

Through network virtualization, virtual networks can be separated and deployed, with each having its unique configuration without affecting the other. For example, in creating a virtual network, you can share your bandwidths and assign them separately to different channels where they are most needed. In addition, network virtualization allows different users to run the same virtual network on a physical network without causing latency issues on the network.

3. Application virtualization

The main goal of application virtualization is to ensure that cloud users have remote access to applications from a server. The server contains all the information and features needed for the application to run and can be accessed over the internet. As a result, you do not need to install the application on your native device to gain access. Application virtualization offers end-users the flexibility to access two different versions of one application through a hosted application or packaged software.

4. Desktop virtualization

Desktop virtualization is typically used to remotely host end users’ operating systems on a server or data center. This type also allows users to access their desktops using different machines.

Virtualizing your desktops gives users the flexibility to work on multiple OS based on the demands of a project. Besides flexibility, desktop virtualization offers portability, user mobility, and software updates and patch management.

5. Data virtualization

Sometimes, organizations are faced with the challenge of analyzing data pulled from different sources. Data virtualization helps to solve this by ensuring that data culled from multiple sources is analyzed collectively to enhance productivity.

In addition, storage virtualization also ensures that organizations can centrally manage all their data stored in multiple sources such as Google Analytics, Excel files and HubSpot reports, and renders them as a single data set.

6. Server virtualization

Server virtualization helps organizations to partition server resources in a way that ensures full utilization of the resources. One of its primary goals is that it helps in breaking up huge physical servers into several instances of virtual servers. This makes it possible for each server to be masked and run as a standalone server.

Through server virtualization, organizations can scale their server resources without investing in physical servers and deploy them depending on user requests, needs and computing power.

Benefits of virtualization in a cloud environment

Virtualization in cloud computing has several benefits and has become essential as computing demands surge. One notable benefit is that an entire system is saved from a possible collapse when there is a system crash in one part of the system. At the same time, virtualization ensures that IT environments are easily protected from viruses and bugs when testing new software programs.

Furthermore, virtualization makes it easy for data transfer as organizations can move data between virtual devices and servers, thereby saving time. In addition, with virtualized desktops and storage, organizations can also move an entire machine without recourse to any physical infrastructure. Doing this improves efficiency, productivity and cost-effectiveness in managing cloud environments.

It’s a subject worthy of more exploration and a recent article at TechRepublic looked at virtualization’s pros, cons and defining features, while another feature offered advice on nine things you shouldn’t virtualize.

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This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays