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The last five years have seen an unprecedented interest in virtualization technology. As
x86 architecture has gained dominance over other processor architectures, potential applications
that canutilize the larger instruction set have become the norm rather than the exception. x86
architecture inherently lends itself to virtualization and has guaranteed that virtualization interest
will notbe a simple here and then gone again methodology.
Historically speaking virtualization has been around for over thirty years. International
Business Machines (IBM) first developed what can beconsidered virtualization geared towards
partitioning large mainframe systems. As large IBM mainframes were gradually phased out of
common repertoire advances in virtualization also faltered.
Thepreponderance of x86 architecture in production servers has galvanized the primary
vendors in the virtualization realm, VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix, to continue actively
designing more efficient, andeasier to operate virtualization options and features into their
products in an attempt to garner shares of this attractive market. VMware Server, Microsoft
Virtual Server 2005 (and 2008) R2 and CitrixXenServer are currently the chief virtualization
applications. In addition all three vendors supply extensive full service options and provide the
lion’s share of documentation regardingvirtualization currently available on the internet.
To ensure an optimal return on investment, virtualization must be carefully analyzed to
determine if the costs and risks associated with implementationnegate the inherent benefits.
Advantages associated with virtualization include infrastructure savings associated with lower
power consumption, reduced cooling requirements and decreased real estaterequirements,
software and hardware savings, and potentially more reliable fail-over implementations.
Disadvantages include the initial, and potentially costly, outlay for hardware and software to...
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