The idea of virtualization has been around since the 1960’s when a mainframe system was created to accommodate computing resources sharing across large groups through a process called time-sharing. As time went on, virtualization becomes more sophisticated and enticed businesses to start integrating it into their operations. A Gartner survey in 2016 showed that the global market for virtualization was reaching its peak, with many organizations having server virtualization rates that exceed 75%.
This growing trend may be attributed to the fact that virtualization has several benefits. One benefit is that companies may reduce cost and space because they do not need to buy actual servers, which are expensive and space-consuming. However, it is important to remember the challenges that may occur with using virtualization.
Before virtualization, a single application on a single server would typically use only a fraction of the server’s network bandwidth. However, as the virtualized server is taken up by multiple virtual machines (VM), there is increased demand for network bandwidth. This could result in creating network traffic, which may cause errors in the virtualized server. Standard Gigabit Ethernet ports can typically support traffic from several VMs and also spread out bandwidth-hungry VMs across multiple servers by rebalancing workloads.
Software licensing is another challenge you may face with virtualization, as you cannot expect to clone VMs without buying licenses for the operating system (OS) and applications running within that VM. Software vendors are updating their licensing rules to tackle virtualization loopholes such as multiple VMs and CPUs. Periodically review and understand the licensing rules for any software that your organization uses. Retaining a licensing compliance officer to track software licensing and offer guidance for software use, which includes virtualization, may be applicable.
The rise of Docker, a software technology providing containers, may put the future of virtualization into question. According to a survey conducted by Datadog, a monitoring service for cloud-scale applications, Docker adoption is up 40% from March 2016 to March 2017. Yes, containers are light and therefore they can launch in a matter of seconds. However, as containers are less isolated to each other, when an attack happens to one container, Dockers may spread it to others. Additionally, Dockers are less flexible because they need new servers to be able to run containers with different OS.
Implementing virtualization is promising, yet challenging. Comprehensive assessment of what the company needs is crucial so that virtualization can be appropriately utilized. As one of the leading companies in providing IT infrastructure and solutions, CTI Group has proven itself to be fully invested in guiding you to implement and maximize the benefits that virtualization has to offer.