We talk a lot about server virtualization here, but there are a number of different kinds of virtualization options out there. Although these are different kinds of virtualization, these virtualization types are generally included in people’s x86 server virtualization plans.
- Network virtualization. VLANs – virtual networks – have been around for a long time. A VLAN is a group of systems that communicate in the same broadcast domain, regardless of the physical location of each node. By creating and configuring VLANs on physical networking hardware, a network administrator can place two hosts – one n New York City and one in Shanghai – on what appears to these hosts to be the same physical network. The hosts will communicate with one another under this scenario. This abstraction had made it easy for companies to move away from simply using physical connections to define networks and be able to create less expensive networks that are flexible and meet ongoing business needs.
- Application virtualization. Virtualization is all about abstraction. When it comes to application virtualization, traditional applications are wrapped up inside a container that allows the application to believe that it is running on an original supported platform. The application believes that it has access to the resources that it needs to operate. Although virtualization applications are not really “installed” in the traditional sense, they are still executed on systems as if they were.
- Desktop virtualization. Desktop and server virtualization are two sides of the same coin. Both involve virtualization of entire systems, but there are some key differences. Server virtualization involves abstracting server-based workloads from the underlying hardware, which are then delivered to clients as normal. Clients don’t see any difference between a physical and virtual server. Desktop virtualization, on the other hand, virtualizes the traditional desktop and moves the execution of that client workload to the data center. Those workloads are then accessed via a number of different methods, such as thin clients or other means.
- Session virtualization. Think Terminal Services here. Basically, an individual server session is abstracted away and pushed down to a client.