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Server Virtualization: A Definition

What Exactly Is Server Virtualization, and Why All the Hype?


Server virtualization is the idea of taking a physical server and, with the help of virtualization software, partitioning the server, or dividing it up, so that it appears as several "virtual servers," each of which can run their own copy of an operating system.

Why is Virtualization So Popular?

Server virtualization is a big buzz word these days, particularly since it's supposed to help businesses save on IT costs. When you partition one physical server into several virtual machines, you can deploy, operate and manage multiple operating system instances at once on that single physical server. This helps reduce the number of physical servers a company must have on its premises.

Virtualization can also help a company cut down on energy consumption, since there are fewer physical servers consuming power. That's especially important, given the trend toward green IT planning and implementation.

The Server Virtualization Landscape

According to research firm Gartner Inc., the server virtualization market is growing rapidly. As of October 2009, only 16 percent of server workloads were running on virtual machines, but Gartner predicted that the numbers would rise to approximately 50 percent of workloads (x86 architecture) by the end of 2012 – or about 58 million deployed machines.

Technology solutions provider CDW also released a Server Virtualization Life Cycle Report in January 2010 which found that the server virtualization market is maturing; more than 90 percent of the businesses it surveyed said they have implemented it at some level.

All of these factors make virtualization one of those "hot areas" you may want to concentrate on if you want to expand your IT skills, as there will be a lot of demand for workers with skills in this area in the future.

Types of Virtualization Positions

Some of the server virtualization-related positions you may come across on employment websites may include:

  • virtualization engineer;
  • virtualization architect;
  • server virtualization systems administrator;

Major Players in the Server Virtualization Arena:

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