People in the IT business may understand the need for virtualisation programs, but for most of the other people in the world, it flies way above their heads like a foreign language. What exactly is virtualisation? Well, in a nutshell, it is the ability to run virtual computers from one physical device. What does that mean? Well, think about this: usually, you would only be able to run one operating system of your choice on your computer. However, with virtualisation, you would be able to install more than one OS in your computer, virtually increasing your number of computers without adding more to your inventory.
Virtuozzo or OpenVZ, Xen and VMWare. All three have a long pedigree and come highly recommended and are useful for your purposes but exactly how useful are they and how? Of course there is a difference among the three of them or you would not really be given a choice, right? Each program has its own set of pros and cons, so without further ado, here are the things that you should know about each of the programs.
First off is Parallals Virtuozzo or its open source sister OpenVZ. Virtuozzo virtualises the hardware at the operating system level, which means that you are only able to run one operating system per hardware node. The benefits however are that that hardware node is able to run more efficiently and each of the virtual servers running off of the node do not require additional resources to run the operating system and allows the users to use each resource solely for the purpose of running their applications.
Second is Xen. Xen virtualisation is an open source software similar to OpenVZ (the open source sister of Virutozzo). Xen functions by virtualizing the bare metal at the pre operating system stage and does this through ‘paravirtualization’ where it modifies the operating that it is running on so that the instructions are directly sent to the hardware. This allows you to run multiple operating systems on one hardware node, and provides an easier and shorter start up for running multiple operating systems on your infrastructure. Of course the draw back here is that more resources need to be allocated to each individual VPS instance as the virtual server must also utilise it’s allocated resources to run the operating system as well as the applications that you are running on that virtual private server.
Third, but not the least, is VMWare Virtualisation. VMWare uses binary translation and emulation and unlike Xen does not require the modification of the operating system that it is running on to take place. This makes VMWare’s virtual server’s performance a little bit faster when running their operating systems (especially whilst running a windows operating system), and also slightly easier to install and manage vis-a-vis Xen.
Furthermore when it comes to hardware Xen requires the hardware in conjunction with their software to be either Intel-VT or AMD-V. This means that users with incompatible hardware would not be able to run Xen on their existing systems regardless of how powerful it may be. Whilst for VMWare due to how it is virtualized it is capable of running on any hardware as long as it meets its basic requirements and in actual fact is capable of utilising more powerful machines and therefore able to simulate a lot more virtual machines with a single system.
So, there you have it. Three programs that will help you out if you want virtualisation done on your systems, but the question begs to be asked â€“ exactly what can you do with virtualisation? Well, think about it in terms of memory allocation. What does that mean? Well, with one computer, you are limited by the physical memory that your unit has. You can extend this using cloud services, but you are going to go up against a wall eventually â€“ you do not have unlimited space for all of your files. These issues do not tend to be the driver these days as the cost of hardware/ storage/ RAM and CPU raw processing power keeps coming down.
Therefore for the majority of people the benefits of virtualization is that you are able to run more applications for more people off of each of the machines, and make use of all the latent resources that is available. This is the essence of both VPS hosting and Cloud VPS. This is economic if you consider web hosting as you do not have to physically increase your servers so much as create virtual networks that each hook up to one particular site. This is very useful and will save you a whole lot of time, energy, cost and effort.
So the final question which of the three Virtualization softwares are best? Well, as you can imagine this depends. If you are a person looking for a hosting service provider and want to get the best use out of your virtual server, then Parallels virtuzzo would be best in that you are able to use more of your virtual private servers resources to run your own applications without having to factor in the resource needs of your operating system. If however you are an inhouse IT support manager looking to get the most out of the hardware you already have in place then either Xen or VMWare would be the better solution.