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What is Data Center Virtualization?

Over the last decade, developments in cloud computing and increased demand for flexible IT solutions have led to new technologies that literally transform the traditional data center. Many businesses have moved from physical on-site data centers to virtualized data center solutions as server virtualization has become a common practice.

What is Data Center Virtualization?

Data center virtualization is a strategy wherein you transform your data center into a highly nimble, available, scalable, secure, and efficient IT infrastructure by applying virtualization heavily to all key resource components of the data center, i.e., compute, storage, and networking.

You can think of it as an extension of the more familiar concept of server virtualization. In server virtualization, a hypervisor abstracts and pools the underlying physical resources, i.e., CPU, memory, storage device(s), and network, from the software running on top of it. In data center virtualization, not only are servers virtualized, but so are storage and network infrastructures.

Then what you get are vast resource pools of computing, storage, and network, which you can reallocate dynamically and automatically for your virtual machines, virtual networks, and virtual data stores.

Another key aspect of data center virtualization is the presence of a unified management framework for administering the components of the virtualized data center, regardless of whether they are located on-premises or in a public cloud. So, essentially, data center virtualization brings about a hybrid cloud.

The end result is a data center where administrators can quickly reconfigure and provision IT resources on demand. A lot of this reconfiguring and provisioning can be done programmatically and in a fully automated way, something that couldn’t be accomplished easily (if ever) with a traditional, rigid data center.

How does it work?

Data center virtualization is the process of creating a virtual server – sometimes called a software-defined data center (SDDC) – from traditional, physical servers. The process abstracts physical hardware by mimicking its processors, operating system, and other resources with help from a hypervisor. A hypervisor is software that creates and manages a virtual machine (VM) that, in this process, helps align communication with a central processing unit (CPU). Typically, data center virtualization results in one or several cloud infrastructures, an interconnected system of virtualized hardware, and other digital components.

Benefits of Data Center Virtualization

Data center virtualization offers a range of strategic and technological benefits to businesses looking for increased profitability or greater scalability. Here we’ll discuss some of these benefits.

  • Scalability: Unlike physical servers, which need extensive and, at times, expensive sourcing and time management, virtual data centers are relatively simple, quick, and inexpensive to set up. They can be added in response to rapid rises in demand for processing and other resources or downsized when they are no longer necessary – something that is not possible with metal servers.
  • Enhanced functionality: Virtualized resources decentralize the notion of the modern office. Before virtualization, everything from common tasks and daily interactions to in-depth analytics and data storage happened at the server level and could only be accessed from one location. Virtualized resources can be accessed from anywhere with a strong enough Internet connection. For example, employees can access data and other applications from remote locations, making productivity possible outside the office. Virtualized servers enable versatile collaboration and sharing opportunities through cloud-based applications like video conferencing, word processing, and other content creation tools.
  • Cost savings: Data center virtualization eliminates the higher management and maintenance associated with physical servers, which are typically outsourced to third-party providers. And unlike their physical counterparts, virtual servers are often offered as part of a consumption-based model, meaning companies only pay for what they use. By contrast, whether physical servers are used or not, companies still incur costs for their maintenance. The additional functionality that virtualized data centers offer can reduce other business expenses like travel costs.

Why is data center virtualization required?

With cloud computing becoming more popular every day, the demand for more flexible IT solutions is also increasing. The flexibility and cost savings of data center virtualization solutions made them popular quickly and most organizations switched from traditional data centers to virtual data centers quickly. Its benefits made virtual data centers so popular among large organizations, that they almost became a necessity to be competitive in a market.

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