Virtualization is one of the hottest innovations in the Information Technology field, with proven benefits that propel organizations to strategize for rapid planning and implementation of virtualization. Virtualization is everywhere around us these days in the form of clouds, hypervisors, remote desktops, SDN ,SD-WAN and virtual storage.Though it may seem like a recent technology , Virtualization has a long history, spanning nearly half a century !It can be used for making your applications easier to access remotely, allowing your applications to run on more systems than originally intended, improving stability, and more efficient use of resources. Some technologies can be traced back to the 60’s such as Virtual Desktops, others can only be traced back a few years, such as virtualized applications. 

History of Visualization

 IBM originally used visualization on their mainframes in the 1960’s. The IBM 360/67 running the CP/CMS system used virtualization as an approach to time sharing. Each user would run their own 360 machine. Storage was partitioned into virtual disks called P-Disks for each user. Since mainframes were expensive resources at the time, they were designed for partitioning as a way to fully leverage the investment. Virtualization was effectively abandoned during the 1980s and 1990s when client-server applications and inexpensive x86 servers and desktops led to distributed computing. The broad adoption of Windows and the emergence of Linux as server operating systems in the 1990s established x86 servers as the industry standard. Present day Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) though may seem to be a recent innovation , in many ways similar to virtual machines in mainframes ! 

Cost of computing  

The growth in x86 server and desktop deployments led to new IT infrastructure and operational challenges.These challenges include: 

  • Low Infrastructure Utilization. Typical x86 server deployments achieve an average utilization of only 10% to 15% of total capacity, Increasing 

  • Physical Infrastructure Costs. Most computing infrastructure must remain operational at all times, resulting in power consumption, cooling and facilities costs that do not vary with utilization levels. 

  • Increasing IT Management Costs. As computing environments become more complex, the level of specialized education and experience required for infrastructure management personnel and the associated costs of such personnel have increased. Organisations spend disproportionate time and resources on manual tasks associated with server maintenance, and thus require more personnel to complete these tasks. 

  • Insufficient Fail-over and Disaster Protection. Organisations are increasingly affected by the downtime of critical server applications and inaccessibility of critical end user desktops. The threat of security attacks, natural disasters, health pandemics and terrorism has elevated the importance of business continuity planning for both desktops and servers. 

  • High Maintenance end-user desktops. Managing and securing enterprise desktops present numerous challenges. Controlling a distributed desktop environment and enforcing management, access and security policies without impairing users’ ability to work effectively is complex and expensive. Numerous patches and upgrades must be continually applied to desktop environments to eliminate security vulnerabilities. 

Thus the idea virtualization of x86 systems came in to fore to address many of these challenges and transform x86 systems into a general purpose, shared hardware infrastructure that offers full isolation, mobility and operating system choice for application environments.

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