Virtualization – The Next Big Thing
The universal success factor in business sustenance is adapting to change in a rapidly changing business environment. This means that each and every organization needs to prepare themselves to adapt successfully in a rapidly changing business environment. Organizations must need on inducing agile, automated, and adaptive environments.
Whatever the complexity we adapt and reside with, the end result of all is to do business where things are simpler, faster, and cheaper. This is the incubation of bipolarity. You do business where user experiences have to be simple, fast, and cheap, done on the other axis of organizational culture built on agility, adaptive, and automated.
Businesses want “the next big thing” to deliver, and virtualization is doing just that by making things simpler, faster, and cheaper.
The concept of virtualization emerged in the 1960s in the era of IBM Mainframes, but it did not pick up momentum until suddenly the speed of computing, the speed of business, the speed of the way of doing business accelerated. It gave birth to server virtualization in 2001.
What is virtualization? It is the creation of a virtual, rather than an actual, version of something, such as an operation system, a server, a storage device or network resources. It allows for multiple operating system (OS) instances to run concurrently on a single computer. Each “guest” OS is thus managed by a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), also known as a hypervisor. As the virtualization system sits between the guest and the hardware, it can control the guest’s user of CPU, memory, and storage, even allowing a guest OS to migrate from one machine to another.
There are three major areas of IT where virtualization is making inroads – network, storage, and server.
Network virtualization is essentially the complete reproduction of a physical network in software. It offers the same features and guarantees of a physical network with the operational benefits and hardware independence of virtualization-rapid provisioning, non-disruptive deployment, and automated maintenance for both legacy and new applications.
Huge data volumes and real-time applications have pushed storage demands to new levels. Storage virtualization (also known as cloud storage) is the pooling of data from different storage devices into one single device that is managed by a central console. The process involves abstracting and covering the internal functions of a storage device from a host application, host servers, or a general network to facilitate the application and management of storage. It helps a storage administrator perform the tasks of backup, archiving and recovery more easily.
Server virtualization allows for a number of operating systems to run on a single physical server as virtual machines, each with access to the underlying server’s computing resources. This, in essence, gives a cost-efficient, agile and simplified server environment. Many servers operate at less than fifteen percent of capacity – server virtualization addresses these inefficiencies.
As real life zooms, before we could think of successfully adopting one Big Thing, the next big thing is already looming outside the doorstep. Companies still want to do business simpler, faster and cheaper, This is where businesses bubbling towards the “Next Big Thing in Virtualization” which has evolved in the form of software-defined everything, container technology and data virtualization.
Software-defined everything (SDE) refers to the virtualization of all aspects of the data center. Various software-defined technologies such as SDN (software-defined networking), SDS (software-define storage), and SDDC (software-defined data center) are included under the SDE assemblage. It is no longer a reactive system, but rather an intelligent predictive one.
The concepts of SDE are now new though. Steve Jobs and Apple pursued similar visions in the vertically-integrated Mac. Today Apple continues to embed the vision of deeply integrated hardware and software with the iPhone.
Experts believe that container technology may be on the verge of ‘disrupting the disrupter.’ Companies with operations in the cloud are excited about containers because of the superior resource allocation, deployment speed, and environment flexibility.
Containers offer OS level virtualization, which means that each container runs on its own abstraction of the machine’s OS. Critically, each container behaves as though it has its own devoted operating system, even though it has not stored it, a key differentiation from VMs as an OS often consumers more memory and storage than the application it is hosting. Typically one physical hardware can create 10 VMs. But in containers, however, the efficiency in resource allocation allows 10 times more applications to run on a server compared to VMs which means 100 times more than traditional client servers. That is one big achievement.
Data virtualization is taking its place alongside big data. Handling of unstructured data has been shaping the arena of business intelligence and analytics. Data virtualization is there to augment data warehouse. The concept of “data federation” is realized in data virtualization. Simply it means, data virtualization is ‘making information available to the business users without worrying about the details of how it is stored in a database.’
There are a number of benefits of virtualization. One of the biggest advantages is that it helps reduce capital and operating costs. It also simplifies recovery and backup as with virtualization, the entire server can be backed up so that every file, folder, and setting can be captured. Recovery is as simple as opening and restoring the backed up files. Another benefit of virtualization is higher availability and uptime. As virtual servers are completely segregated from one another, this decreases downtime during maintenance periods. What this means is that changes can be made to one virtual server without affecting or disrupting the rest sharing the same hardware.
There are challenges to virtualization, the biggest being security. In addition, the increasing demand from end-users for faster applications is causing IT infrastructures to be more complex and expensive than ever before. This is not sustainable and will eventually reach the point of diminishing returns, if left unchecked.
The world is rapidly changing, compared to what we experienced in the last 5-10 years. It is forcing all of us, individuals as well as businesses, to adapt quickly. It is ushering a new era where companies now need to learn how to live with ambiguity and uncertainty – embracing new technology to improvise and adapt pushing them much beyond the comfort zone.
InterraIT has been a leader in the Information Technology industry since its founding in 1996. The company is a global software services organization that delivers innovative business and technology solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. InterraIT has not only strengthened but also successfully delivered virtualization solutions to multiple partners.
Today, InterraIT is the largest privately held offshore consulting company with operations in India. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of IT and IT-enabled services with a distinct focus on providing product engineering services, ERP solutions, web-based custom enterprise applications and mobile application development.
Asoke K Laha
Mr. Asoke K Laha is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Interra Information Technologies, a global software services organization that delivers innovative business and technology solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. Headquartered in San Jose, California, USA, InterraIT’s operations are spread across three countries, with a sales network spanning the United States, Europe and India.
Mr. Laha has over forty years of professional experience in software industry. Mr. Laha is a US Citizen, and had started his career as software developer in United States and later moved to general management. He worked for Multi-national US corporations e.g. GTE, Digital Equipment Corporation and Cadence, all in US. During his tenure in Cadence, he was sent to India as an expatriate to build Cadence India as Managing Director. During his association with Cadence India, Mr. Laha transformed the company from scratch into a successful premier respected organization.
At present, Mr. Laha has been elected as the National President of Indo – American Chamber of Commerce. He is also member of Executive Committee and past President of Regional Council of IACC – Northern Region.Mr. Laha had received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical and Communications from Jadavpur University, India, and Masters of Engineering in Electrical and Computer Science from University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He also completed his Graduate studies from Northwestern University, USA.