Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources. There are three areas of IT where virtualization is making headroads, network virtualization, storage virtualization and server virtualization.

  • Network virtualization is a method of combining the available resources in a network by splitting up the available bandwidth into channels, each of which is independent from the others, and each of which can be assigned (or reassigned) to a particular server or device in real time. The idea is that virtualization disguises the true complexity of the network by separating it into manageable parts, much like your partitioned hard drive makes it easier to manage your files.
  • Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console. Storage virtualization is commonly used in storage area networks (SANs).
  • Server virtualization is the masking of server resources (including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems) from server users. The intention is to spare the user from having to understand and manage complicated details of server resources while increasing resource sharing and utilization and maintaining the capacity to expand later.

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