The Easiest Explanation Ever of Virtualisation

What is Virtualisation?

Virtualisation is a common computer term which is not very well understood by most people.  I’ll explain it to you in layman terms so that you can see how useful it is and whether or not you are already using it or want to use it.

In a way, people were practising a type of virtualisation long before computers. Architects, builders, doctors, engineers and others were making models and detailed drawings and sketches to get and give an impression of how something might work or function.

Today, virtualisation allows us to build complete cities, in high detail 3-D imagery, then with a click of the mouse, destroy and rebuild in a completely different manner. And in the health industry, doctors and health care professionals are able to create life-like replicas of situations and see the possible side effects and outcomes of different procedures.

Virtualisation as a Computer Term

In the computer world, instead of mapping out cities or hearts, Information Technology (IT) workers started creating virtual workstations, servers, operating systems and network resources to test out various system configurations.   

Then they realised that this could also be used in a production environment because software systems are intrinsically virtual.  This allowed them to have a network of computers, running two or more completely different environments, on a single piece of hardware.  For example, a Windows PC can run its standard Operating System (OS), while having the ability to mimic another Windows PC, an Apple computer or a Linux PC.

Virtualisation splits computers from their applications, by creating a virtual machine (VM), which gives it the ability to act as a host to a larger number of systems.  There are a wide variety of virtual specialties, and you will hear terms like hardware virtualisation, operating system virtualisation, network virtualisation, storage virtualisation, and even server virtualisation.

Let’s have a look at each of these specialities and I’ll try to give you a simple, short explanation.  But don’t worry if you don’t ‘get it’ the first time; it’s what I love and what I do well.  You can ask for support in these areas and at the same time, you can free yourself up to do what you are good at doing in your own business.

Hardware Virtualisation

You probably know a little bit about hardware virtualisation if you have ever decided to partition your hard drive into logical divisions, creating basically two hard drives in one; this is a simple form of hardware virtualisation.  It is possible to imitate other hardware components in a computer using software programs and that is known as hardware virtualisation.

Operating System Virtualisation

This type of virtualisation allows the computer to take a step back and act as a simple display for different operating systems running on the same machine. This uses software to allow a computer to display different operating system windows at the same time because it is not tied to either of the two systems.

Network Virtualisation

Network virtualisation combines all of the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into channels. Each of these channels is completely independent of the other channels and can be devoted, or reassigned, to a particular server or individual in real time. This allows the complex network to be separated into manageable parts that can be worked on or devoted to different tasks without affecting the other ones.

Storage Virtualisation

This type of virtualisation pools physical storage locations from multiple devices within a network and allows it to act as a single storage location where you can save all of your documents and other files.

Server Virtualisation

Server virtualisation hides the identity of physical servers from each user and simplifies the ever-daunting task of having to understand and manage server resources. It also increases the ability to share resources and gives the company the ability to expand in the future.

These categories of virtualisation can be used by an IT team or person to manage a system based on activity and resources used.  This means that everything is much more efficient as clients only pay for resources that are needed. 

If you need any changes or support with virtualisation or if you are looking for ways to increase efficiency with your server, contact Philip: