Virtualization: the school bus of technology

During the school year, we all see the familiar yellow color driving down the road. The school bus.

Buses are used because they are efficient. They can get many kids to school in less time and cost than other modes of transportation.

The average school bus holds around 100 kids. Now if you took those 100 kids and put them into a single car, imagine how much space on the road and gas would be used up.

There is a technology called virtualization with the same effect on data centers.

Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

In our example a server is the school bus. The kids are the virtualization.

In a data center, you have many racks of servers. These racks can contain up to 48 servers.

But inside the servers is where the magic happens. The servers will the virtual machines (servers that have not physical hardware but act like a physical server you can touch and see) installed. There can be as many virtual machines as the server can handle.

This allows a data center to operate more efficient for the same reason the school bus is efficient.

With virtualization you can make 1 server do the job of many servers using the same amount of electricity.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of using one server to act like it’s many servers.

Are servers the only thing able to be virtualized?

Servers are the most common things to be virtualized. You can also virtualize desktop operating systems. So, if you were running Windows, you would virtualize Linux to check it out.

What is needed for virtualization?

  1. A computer/server with a processor capable of virtualization.
  2. A hypervisor.

What is a hypervisor?

A hypervisor is the software allowing you to create virtual machines. It allows you to “build” a virtual system. In the hypervisor, you can setup how much RAM, hard drive space, and how many processors it will get. Then you can load an iso file (image of a CD/DVD disc) with the operating system you want to install.

  • HyperV — Microsoft
  • VMware — VMware
  • Parallels Desktop (made only for MacOS)
  • VirtualBox

How are these virtual machines accessed?

You can access them via a remote console. This means you need to access a website then connect to the VM from a website.

If the VM is installed on the computer you are using, you can access it from the hypervisor.

Windows based OSes can be connected via a Remote desktop connection (RDP).

Linux based OSes can be accessed using SSH or install a remote desktop app on the virtual machine.

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